I get intimidated by my boss at work and tend to stay quiet most of the time. But there are some problems that I think need to be pointed out. I am not comfortable speaking up about these things, but I think I need to. Do you have any advice on whether it’s wise to speak up at work and the right way to do it?
It is a well-known fact that people who speak up at work get more opportunities, more raises, more promotions and generally go farther in their careers. More doors open for people who are assertive, confident and open.
Speaking up shows people that you trust yourself and this makes them trust you too. If you don’t speak up, and stay quietly in the background, it will eventually hurt your career. People could make incorrect assumptions from your silence, about who you are and what you think. You must speak up to define yourself in this job and show your boss you are invested.
You are probably afraid to speak up at work for one of these three reasons:
1) You may suffer from a fear of failure, which is really about being embarrassed or looking bad. You may have a lot of fear about making mistakes. You may believe it is safer not to act at all, but this is the truth … no action is worse than a mistake.You should read my article about this fear.
2) You may suffer from a fear of confrontation. You may feel inadequate in difficult conversations. The problem is people lose respect for this kind of "chicken" behavior. With a little professional help on communication skills, you could easily get past this.
3) You may have a fear of success, which means you play small and shoot low because it feels safer. You may be afraid of the responsibilities and commitments that come with raising the bar. The problem is, people can subconsciously feel this fear and they tend to honor it, by passing you by. Read an article on this.
People will respect you more for having thoughts and ideas, and being brave enough to share them. Even if they disagree with you, they will respect you for having the confidence to speak up. You will also respect yourself more.
Here are seven steps for confidently speaking up at work:
1) Ask yourself “Why am I bringing this up?
3) Ask questions about their opinions and ideas first. Listen and validate their thoughts and feelings about it. This shows that you are open to their ideas and makes them feel respected.
4) Ask permission to share your thoughts. Would you be open to letting me share a few thoughts on this? Asking permission shows people you honor and respect them.
5) Speak up in a respectful way.
7) All you can do is speak your ideas in a respectful way. How they process that information, and respond to it, is out of your control. At that point, let it go and don't take it personally if they don't agree.
You can do this. Let us know how it goes!
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of www.claritypointcoaching.com. She is a life coach and speaker who specializes in repairing self-esteem and teaching the principles of fearless living.
When I read a recent KSL article about a school superintendent berating and threatening employees, it sounded very familiar. I am also working for a leader who intimidates and threatens employees and uses fear to motivate us. How does one deal with this type of leader and how can someone be sure they aren’t this type of leader?
There are basically two types of leaders: Those who function in fear about their own value and can therefore only focus on themselves, and those who are secure about who they are and can therefore focus on the needs of others. I call these fear-motivated leaders or love-motivated leaders. (FYI: Parents are also leaders and fall into these same two categories.)
It sounds like the superintendent you read about may be a fear-motivated leader. Anyone who needs to threaten and intimidate employees (or children) to control their behavior is not secure about who they are. Their focus is on protecting and promoting themselves and making themselves look good. They are coming from a place of ego, and they often use intimidation to control and manipulate other people.
If you want to be love-motivated leader (or parent) you should:
If you are currently working for a fear-motivated leader, here are a couple of suggestions that may help:
1) Make sure you are seeing this person accurately.
3) Validate him as often as possible. This makes him feel safe with you. Be kind and respectful and stay in control of your emotions and reactions. The more mature and wise you behave, the better.
4) Document everything. Quietly keep track of unethical, immoral or manipulative behavior. Write everything down. Hopefully, a right moment will show up when you’ll be glad you did.
5) Say as little as possible. When you do need to speak, ask lots of questions and listen to him first, then choose your words carefully. Don’t put this person on the defensive.
6) When he does behave like a love-motivated leader, be sure to notice, thank him and let him know how much you appreciate it. This will encourage good behavior in the future.
You may also want to update your resume.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of www.ldslifecoaching.com and www.claritypointcoaching.com. She is a sought after life coach and popular speaker who specializes in repairing self esteem and restoring hope.
My job is torture right now because a co-worker is driving me crazy. He is annoying, obnoxious and unprofessional. He not only bothers me, but he prevents me from being productive as well. Complaining to my supervisor would just make me look like a whiner. Is there anything else I can do?
At some point in our lives, we all have to deal with a coworker we can’t stand. Here are a couple ideas that might keep you from losing it.
1. Get accurate about the situation. Robert Bacal, author of "The Complete Idiots Guide to Dealing with Difficult Employees" says you first have to ask yourself, “Who is the problem?”
Is the person annoying several people at work? Or only bothering you? If everyone else gets along with this person, you might be the one with the problem. You may need to work on letting things go or being more thick skinned.
2. Avoid the annoying coworker as much as you can.
Here are some avoidance tips:
If this person’s behavior is keeping you from getting work done, and avoidance techniques aren’t working, it’s time to have a talk about it.
Do not have this conversation in the heat of the moment when you are annoyed or angry. Take time to step back and get a clear head first. The conversation will go better if you are calm and cool.
Daniel Robin, a consultant who runs the website www.abetterworkplace.com says the conversation will go over better if you talk to the person in private. Don’t gang up on the person with other colleagues.
Pull the person aside and ask if this is a good time to talk.
Don’t criticize or put him or her on the defensive upfront. Ask him or her questions about your working relationship and how he or she feel about it. Listen to his or her thoughts and feelings and validate the right to see the situation the way he or she does. Even if you think he or she is crazy, you must honor and respect his or her right to be who he or she is.
Then ask the person if he or she would be open to hearing some of your honest feelings. Ask if her or she open to some feedback, even if it’s hard to hear.
Wait for a yes.
Speak your truth about how you would like the work relationship to be. Focus on the solution and how you would like to be treated. Don’t focus on past behavior. Ask if he or she would be willing to honor how you feel about this and what you need at work.
4. This last idea is sneaky but very effective. Figure out how you would like this person to behave and thank him or her for behaving this way as often as you can.
One manager who tried this had an employee who was sharing confidential information with people outside the organization. Instead of getting angry, this smart manager pulled the employee aside and thanked him for being so careful with confidential work information. He told him how much he appreciated being able to count on him to handle sensitive material with discretion. He thanked the employee for this quite often.
They never had a problem with leaked information again.
Positive encouragement makes people want to change themselves. Dr. Rick Brinkman, a professional trainer and author of the book "Dealing With People You Can't Stand" says, "Any time that you project positive on a person, you shove them in that direction."
You could also go to upper management with your frustration, but like you mentioned in your question, you may be seen as a complainer. If you decide to talk to a manager, get some other colleagues, who are also annoyed to go with you.
If none of these techniques work there’s always revenge. You could superglue his or her mouse to the mouse pad or pull all the keys off his keyboard, rearrange them in different spots.
Question: I have been out of work for a while. After sending out hundreds of resumes, I finally have a good job interview lined up. But I’m scared to death. I really need this job and am afraid of blowing it because I’m so nervous. Could you give me some advice?
Answer: You are suffering from a bad case of the fear of failure (the fear of looking bad or being rejected), and you are right, if you don’t get it under control it could sabotage the interview.
When you show up needy and desperate people can sense your desperation. They can feel your fear and it is not attractive. Fear says you don’t believe in yourself and it makes other people doubt your abilities, too.
If you aren’t sure you deserve this position, they won’t be either. You must walk in there fearless.
Here are a few tips for overcoming fear on the spot:
1. Focus on trusting the universe
There are no accidents. Everything happens as it’s supposed to happen. (At least that’s what you can choose to believe if you want to.) You may want to choose to believe this because believing the opposite (that there is no rhyme or reason to anything and we live in chaos) makes life feel scarier.
Oprah Winfrey once said, “I trust in the ebb and flow of the universe. I trust that life’s bigger than what I can see. I trust there is a divine order beyond my control and I trust no matter what happens, I will be alright.”
Choosing to trust the universe makes you feel safe. With this mindset you have no fear about interviews because if you are supposed to get this job you will, and if not you won’t — either way you’re going to be fine. You have nothing to fear. This mindset brings peace and calm.
2. Make sure you see the interviewer as the same as you
We have a tendency, as human beings, to see other people as different from us. We usually see them as either better than us or worse than us.
In an interview situation you often feel “less than” the person interviewing you. This is not accurate. You are the same as they are. You are both human beings with the same intrinsic value. The fact they are employed and you aren’t doesn’t change that.
Abraham Lincoln said, “The assertion that 'all men are created equal' was of no practical use in effecting our separation from Great Britain, it was placed in the Declaration not for that, but for future use.”
Use that idea now.
Decide to see this interviewer as the same as you. Treat them with respect and treat yourself with respect too. This kind of confidence is very attractive.
3. Focus on giving and serving instead of getting
Most people approach job interviews focused on getting the job. This can be a needy and selfish energy because it is all about you.
Instead, focus on how you can serve that company and those people. Ask questions about their needs and how you could best be of service.
Have some of these “giving type questions” planned ahead of time.
You can also send silent messages of love to the interviewer as you talk (not in a creepy way but in terms of love for your fellow human being).
This focus on love shifts the energy of the interview from one of getting to one of giving and it is a shift the interviewer will feel. People subconsciously like you when you show up with love.
Love is even more attractive than confidence.
4. Handle yourself like a pro
Seize control of the room when you walk in. Extend your hand for a handshake and be the first to say “Hello” or “How are you?” Once seated, let the interviewer take control of the conversation.
During the interview make eye contact, sit up straight and smile. Don’t fidget with your clothes or hair. These small things can be a distraction and are a sign of self consciousness.
Remember, you have nothing to be afraid of here. No matter how this goes, you are still a good person. Don’t be afraid of rejection. It doesn’t mean anything.
This experience does not determine your worth.
If this job isn’t the right one, another will be.
Focus on staying in trust with the universe, seeing the other person as the same as you and showing up with love to serve that company, and you will do great.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of www.ldslifecoaching.com and www.claritypointcoaching.com. She is a sought after executive life coach and speaker.
Is there someone at your workplace — a critical manager or a trouble-causing co-worker — who drives you crazy? Dealing with these difficult people can turn a great job into a nightmare, but don’t be discouraged. Here are some creative, mature and loving ways to deal with these difficult situations:
Make absolutely sure you aren’t the problem. Evaluate your own behavior objectively. Ask others to give you some feedback. Are you doing anything to contribute to the problem? Do you get offended too easily?
Look for the lesson. This experience can teach you something. What is it showing you about yourself? The easiest thing to change in this situation is you. Is there any way you could behave differently to improve this situation?
Don’t react impulsively. An emotional reaction when you are annoyed never produces the best results. Give it a little time to make sure you see the situation accurately. Don’t let the problem fester too long, though. It’s better to tackle the problem while it’s fresh than to dig up something that happened weeks ago.
Try to see the situation from the other person’s perspective. What is going on in their world? Are they dealing with a family issue, a divorce or health problems? Are they struggling with their job or clashing with the boss and taking it out on you?
Most bad behavior (though it may be directed at you) is not really about you.
Their bad behavior is usually an expression of their own inner state. The problem is usually about fear they are experiencing. See if you can identify what the real problem is. Is there anything you could do to help with or show compassion for that issue?
Be forgiving. Seek to understand and have compassion toward this person. Choose to see them as the same as you … a scared, struggling human being in process.
Your ego may be quick to make them the bad guy so you can be the good guy, but this is rarely accurate. Let go of the need to be right and try to ignore the problem as much as possible.
Stop talking about it. If you are talking about this difficult person with everyone who will listen, you are adding negative energy to the problem. Are you doing this to get validation or feel important? Consider focusing on finding solutions instead of complaining.
Treat them with respect and kindness even if they don’t deserve it. This is the best approach because they will never expect it! Kindness throws them off completely.
Nothing changes a negative situation faster than refusing to participate in it.
It takes two to fight.
Look for good and compliment them. Dig deep and find something in this person to appreciate. The more you thank them for good behavior, the more they will behave that way toward you. Kindness will make it very hard for them to treat you badly in the future.
If you decide you must have a conversation with this person about their behavior, follow these steps for best results:
1) Focus on the outcome you want. How can you create that outcome? Focus more on where you are going than where you are now with this person. Be solution-focused — not problem-focused.
2) Choose the right time. Make sure you can have a private and uninterrupted conversation.
3) Be calm. They can read your emotions and your energy. If you are angry or upset, they will get angry and defensive before the conversation even starts. Set your hurt feelings aside and focus on understanding them first.
4) Ask questions about how they feel and what they think about the situation. Listen to how they feel. Do not get defensive or upset about what they say. Validate their right to see and think the way they do. Be open to hearing some ways you could improve. Make sure they feel heard and understood before going to step 5.
5) Ask permission to share your solutions. Ask if they would be open to hearing your suggestions on ways to improve your working relationship. Focus on the positive as much as possible, but speak your truth.
You have more power to change this situation and this person than you think, but a scared, angry, victim mentality will rob you of that power. Your power comes by choosing to act in love, wisdom and maturity.
In other words, take the high road.
Handle yourself professionally, and if that doesn’t work, take the problem to a superior.
Tristen Loo, an expert in conflict resolution, says when you are having problems with a co-worker or employer, you should document everything. “This will become your main ammunition should a complaint ever be filed down the road.” He recommends only going to a superior as a last resort, but if you need documentation, you’ll have it.
Your ability to respond to these difficult situations maturely may even get you noticed at work. Management is always looking for people who can handle conflict with grace, and they are the people who get promoted.
Rudyard Kipling wrote, "If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, and blaming it on you … yours is the earth and everything that's in it."
I thought I could have it all, children and a career, but it is terribly hard. When I’m at work, I feel guilty I’m not with my kids. When I’m with the kids, I feel guilty I’m not working. I just feel guilty all the time. I feel like I am failing at both. Could you give me some advice?
The new movie “How Does She Do It?” does a good job portraying a working mom struggling to find balance and a sense of success. It also does a good job portraying the guilt you are experiencing. I highly recommend you see the movie, but here are some tips that may also help:
1. Set realistic expectations. Expect this to be difficult. Expect to forget things and let people down on occasion. If you don’t expect this juggling act to be hard, you’re not being realistic.
You cannot do what stay-at-home moms can do. Accept that. If you have realistic expectations, you won’t experience as much frustration, disappointment and guilt. Don’t dwell on the negative. Just understand the realities of the challenge and give yourself a break.
2. Lower your standards. You will not be able do everything and do it perfectly. It is just not possible. Do not compare yourself to women who have less on their plates. Be okay with unmade beds and dirty dishes in the sink. Be okay with store-bought cookies instead of homemade ones. Everyone will live.
3. Invest in a crockpot. Plan meals in advance. Don’t try to figure out what’s for dinner at 5 p.m. every night. Have a plan for shopping, cooking and cleaning up. Work the plan. Get the whole family involved in these tasks.
4. Take time for yourself. If you don’t do it, you will eventually have a meltdown or get sick and be forced to take care of yourself. Work some “me” time into the plan. Make sure everyone understands — mothers have needs too — and a happy mom is a lot nicer to live with.
5. Be more organized. Make sure everything and each task has its time and place. The more organized your home and your schedule, the less stress and frustration you will experience. If this is not your forte, get help from someone who is really good at structure and order.
6. Get kids and spouse involved in housework. Make job assignments together as a team and spread out the load. Family and home has to be a team effort — you cannot do it alone.
7. Plan ahead for smooth mornings. Do as much as you can the night before. Have clothes laid out, lunches made and homework done. I realize this can mean a busy and stressful night, but it's better than a chaotic morning where you leave for work with everyone grouchy and mad. It’s better to start the day with a smile and hug instead.
8. Get smart about after-school activities. Limit your kids to one activity — the one they most want to do. Choose activities close to home and make friends with other parents who may be able to share rides to activities if you can’t make them. Identify big events your child most wants you to attend, ask them to understand if you miss some others, as long as you make it to the big ones.
9. Remember what matters most. Children grow up so fast. Make sure you take time to play with your children, ask lots of questions and listen to them as much as you can. Plan weekend activities together. Spend as much quality time as possible.
If I had my child to raise all over again, I’d finger-paint more and point fingers less. I would do less correcting and more connecting. I’d take my eyes off my watch and watch with my eyes. I’d take more hikes and fly more kites. I’d stop playing serious and seriously play. I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars. I’d do more hugging and a lot less tugging. — Diane Loomans
10. Smile and laugh often.
“It would seem that something which means poverty, disorder and violence every single day should be avoided entirely, but alas, the desire to beget children is a natural urge.” — Phyllis Diller
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These articles were originally published on KSL.COM
Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.