How to Deal with Difficult Coworkers

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At some stage of your career, you will more than likely run into a co-worker or manager that you will not exactly see eye-to-eye with. As frustrating as it may be, it is absolutely vital that you keep calm and relax about the overall situation. Nothing more can be done to exacerbate a tense relationship, but there are a few techniques you can utilize to help alleviate or diffuse difficult circumstances in the most amicable way possible.

To start, many tense situations arise because there is a miscommunication between you and the other person. I have seen these countless times where a coworker and I could not agree upon various decisions for a specific project. While personality does play a large role within these particular situations, it is imperative that you overcome your pride and ego and understand their perspective and mindset on the matter. In most cases, each person has a different understand at the overall steps for a particular goal. To alleviate this, start by proactively listening. Be sure to pay close attention to what the other person is saying and concentrate on points where there could have been a possible miscommunication. Once you have done that, begin by opening up a discussion on expectations. When any project is launched, there will always be a multitude of people and ideas involved. To help lessen any confusions of the matter, make sure you are able to discuss the various tasks and objectives everyone is going to do. This type of opened discussion can help clarify what you and your coworkers can do on a day-to-day basis. Last but not least, be sure to take responsibility for any type of miscommunication that was your own fault. Especially within the business sector, we are quick to point fingers at others to help sustain our professional reputation. If you know that it was your own mishap, own up to it! I guarantee you that that type of gesture will help calm any tension between you and your unfriendly coworker.

If you find that the animosity is not based on miscommunication, but personality, then it may be your best bet to try and avoid that person within your day-to-day. Now I know what many of you are thinking: ‘We work on a team’ or ‘I HAVE to work with this person directly.’ As difficult as it may seem, there is always ways in which you can easily avoid the situation such as planning your day around them. If you find this to be too taxing, you could possible bring your problem up to a manager or someone in human resources to help find you that much needed support. That way you will have an unbiased arbitrator who can help bridge a gap to your tense situation.

Now the last bit of advice I can give you is for you to change your personality. Unless you are completely aware of what you say and how you act everyday, you are more than likely overlook your own professional behavior. To help with this, start by treating people with respect. Even if your associate isn’t in the same field or job description as you, having that level of consciousness can earn you more admiration than stress.

How to Gain Respect at the Workplace

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Respect and recognition is not something that is handed to you. But it is arguably one of the most sought out titles a person will want within the workplace. While there is no step-by-step process of going about this, there are several areas that you can refine in order to improve your professional status within your company.

To start off, begin by demonstrating your worth and value as an employee. At any company, there is always a starting point. The process of gaining respect from both your colleagues and your superiors starts almost immediately when you enter the workplace. While this may not reflect your salary or your title, your attitude and office personality can highlight your underwritten role and importance at your company. To showcase this, come in with a positive and driven attitude. Believe it or not, many people showcase a variety of office personalities during their first day at the office. As much as you want to be personable or comical with your coworkers, you also want to be aware of the lasting impression your first appearance will make with the general public. Having a positive, friendly, and driven work ethic can demonstrate that much-needed professionalism that can get you noticed at your office.

Once you are able to establish your office personality, try and open your services to both your coworkers and your superiors. To do this efficiently and effectively, be sure to speak calmly and listen to others. One of the best ways to establish respect is first and foremost establishing trust within your office. Show your peers that you are able to take opinions and critiques before taking direct action or decision. In addition, be respectful, especially when collaborating with others. While there may be points where you want to showcase your leadership or knowledge to the group, you also have to understand that much of collaborative projects require you to work within a framework of a team. Because of this, make sure you are aware of your actions within a group setting. Be open-minded and welcoming to all ideas while also putting your best foot forward within any situation.

Now, respect cannot come about if you do not, first and foremost, respect yourself. With that being said, make sure you show a strong display of self-confidence. At the beginning of your career, you may have been intimidated or overwhelmed by the set of expectations asked by your superiors. While this type of timid display is understandable, it is important that you develop a level of self-confidence in your status and your work ethics at the office. Maintaining this individual identity will allow you to settle naturally within your position, while also improving your standing at your company.

To leverage this within your company, try and seek out various leadership positions, even if it is for a short period of time. Having this professional opportunity can showcase your level of commitment and importance at the office.

Last but not least, to gain respect for your peers and your superiors, make sure you show humility. As much as you want to showcase your strengths, being able to admit your flaws can gain the necessary respect needed to be a leader at the workplace. Many great leaders are those that can internalize their strengths and weaknesses. Show your human side but maintain a sense of bravado and self-assurance that shows you can handle any task given at hand.

Setting Goals for your Professional Career

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Regardless of who they are, successful people always have goals. When establishing yourself at the workplace, it can be easy to feel suffocated, confined, and worrisome with the lack of direction to help navigate your steps within your chosen field. That is why I highly recommend that establish your vision and goals for your professional future before making any type of actions at your company. Having a clear vision of the end-state will allow you to set necessary steps to achieve success during your tenure at your company. For this to be beneficial, you need to be crystal clear on what you are looking to achieve and how it will shape your professionally.

While easy as it may sound, creating professional goals are incredible tough. Yes, we can all throw the goal that we want to be the next CEO of a company. While I will not criticize your professional ambitions to make it to the top, I will question whether or not it is plausible, especially if you are unqualified for said position. When creating your professional goals, you want to make sure it will do two things. The first thing your goals should do is that it should challenge you each and every day. Many people need this type of motivation to get them through the mundane task at the office. They need to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Having the goal to move up within your company as a manager or director is a perfect way to start. Now, as much as you want to shoot for the stars, you also want to be tangible. This brings us to our second requirement when creating professional goals. While asking to be the next CEO or the next Mark Cuban is always fun to talk about, having this as a goal can be extremely detrimental to your overall success and growth as a professional. Your goals are meant to push you to be better than who you are. They cannot push you to your best if you know they are unattainable.

So how do you create professional goals? What should you do to make them as effective and beneficial as possible?

Start off by avoiding vague words. One of the hallmarks of a good goal is that they are well detailed and crystal clear about what you are looking to achieve in the future. Oftentimes, people create various goals like “get more clients,” or “make more sales.” While the concept is understandable, the actual goal itself is not. When creating your goals, try and be as specific as possible. Get it down to the number if you have to. Creating your goals in this manner will allow you to internalize what you are actually looking to accomplish each and everyday.

Now, just having a goal is not the only step in creating your goals. In addition to creating your overarching goal, you want to make sure you have efficient and effective steps that can lead you to your goals. Think of these as mini-goals. These particular objectives are meant to help you conceptualize your path for success. To help improve this, try and make sure these steps are able to measure progress. This will allow you to analyze whether or not you are on or off track when it comes to your achievement.

One big mistake many people make is that they are overly optimistic. Earlier I spoke of having tangible goals. The same concept applies here. Now there is nothing wrong with aiming high.  But creating unrealistic targets cannot only hinder your progress, but derail your success entirely. Remember, your goals are there to motivate you, not hinder you. Being overly optimistic of an unrealistic goal can backfire if you are unable to hit that goal. To help conceptualize tangible objectives, try talking to your manager. They should be more than happy to help break down your path for success. At the end of the day, you both are playing for the same team. Utilize this help, and begin building that action plan.

How To Deal With Workplace Pressure

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People of all professions experience stress in the workplace. There are often times in a work environment during which employees feel pressure to perform at the top of their game, sometimes in a short amount of time. It’s easy to feel stress when you have a lot on your plate and you’re under pressure. Here are some techniques to make sure you don’t crumble under pressure.

1) Make a brief to-do list
The list doesn’t have to be long. In fact, it is suggested to keep this list to three items long so that you can truly focus on your priorities. This allows you to be realistic about what you can achieve in the very near future. You can also stop thinking about other tasks until you’ve finished these three so that you don’t get too bombarded with what to do.

2) Use some sort of organizing system
Don’t simply rely on your own brain. If you just think of what you need to accomplish, it can all get jumbled. Use an external organizing system, such as a handwritten to-do list, digital calendar reminders, or whatever works best for you. When you have a physical reminder of all of your tasks, you will be much less stressed.

3) Ask for help
There’s no shame in asking for assistance. Even the most hard-working professionals will sometimes struggle to handle everything on their own. Those who are truly successful understand that they will sometimes need to reach out for help. When your situation is getting out of control, reach out to some coworkers or other people in your network who you trust in order to get help.

4) Tackle your negative thoughts
Reframing your negative thoughts will allow you to be calmer. When you find yourself getting panicked over a tense situation, put the situation in perspective. Put an end to your frantic thoughts by reminding yourself that the situation can be handled and that it is not the end of the world. Then figure out what you will do first, second, and so on. This goes back to making a short to-do list.

5) Plan ahead
While a short to-do list is a great way to get things done, it’s also important to plan for the future. If there are challenges that are likely to come up, think about the steps that you will take to overcome the challenges. This way, you will be much better prepared for any issue that comes your way.

6) Take care of your body
In order to feel more calm and balanced, make sure you are taking care of your physical health. One of the most important things you can do to have the best cognitive function and the brightest mood is to get a proper amount of sleep. If you get enough sleep, eat healthy, and exercise, you will be more productive and have better peace of mind.

7) Be grateful
Being grateful for what you have in life will have a positive effect on not only your productivity but on your overall happiness. It has been shown that being grateful is the most influential factor in having a happy and positive outlook on life. Each day, think about what you are thankful for, and your success is likely to increase!

Working in any environment can lead to extreme stress. We have all felt moments during which we were extremely under pressure. But if you take a deep breath and follow these rules, that pressure has no chance of getting in the way of your success.

How to Optimize Your Work Email

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For many young professionals, you probably have a love-hate relationship with your work email. Regardless of your feelings, we all rely on emails as the main form of business communication with your co-workers, your bosses, and last but not least, your customers. Because of this, it is absolutely vital that you optimize your email in the most strategic way possible.

Below, you will find some helpful tips in bolstering the logistics and operations for your email. These powerful guidelines will shape and refine your daily usage of this tool, while also alleviating the stress and anxieties of an unopened mail.

To start, one of the biggest game changers you can do for your professional email is to create a tracking system for those who open your emails. At the workplace, it can oftentimes be frustrating to wait and wonder if a client received an important email. Rather than wait or waste your time sending a follow-up email, try using various applications such as Sidekick or HubSpot software. Both programs allow you to seize control of your email by noting real-time notifications of who is opening the emails, when they are opening it, and how many times.

Outside of tracking opened emails, try and gain an insight into your email contacts. The most effective email communication that you can do is something that is personal and organic. For many businesses, automated emails lack the personality and communication you can get from a more personal, especially for reports. To increase client communication, try and personally writing the content tailored to the specific person. This will resonate more with them and provide a stronger possibility for a speedy response.

Now once a person responds, make sure you follow the 24-hour rule. For many people, an empty Inbox can be seen as a myth or a legend. While it may be difficult to bring that number down to zero, try and review any incoming emails as soon as possible, even if it is for a brief time. As for responding, similar to you emailing a client or a coworker, try and respond accordingly in a timely manner, hence the 24-hour rule. Many young professionals make the mistake that they need to respond to an email as soon as possible. While in some cases this may be true, a majority of the time, you have a 24-hour window gap when responding back. This type of leeway allows you to prioritize specific emails and matters based on its urgency. Some emails will demand for your response immediately, while others can be handled and written a few hours after they are sent. Whatever is the case, just be cognizant of the timing.

Last but not least, to fully enhance your email, try turning your email into a professional marketing tool. To do this, create a digital signature added to the bottom of your emails. Include your name, your title, your company’s name, and your number. This type of detail allows people to understand the person they are talking to. This is especially beneficial if you have a higher-ranking title.

While there is always room to improve, try utilizing these first few tips and techniques and see how it impacts your day-to-day operations at work. If it does, fantastic! Try doing more research on new techniques through Google. If not, try taking a step back and work on improving your email platform one by one.

How to Negotiate for a Higher Salary

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For many young professionals, negotiating for a higher salary can be an awfully intimidating situation. As frightening and uneasy as it may be to go to your superiors and ask for a higher pay raise, it may also be necessary, especially if you are making drastic movements within the company.

First and foremost, if you are going to get the pay you deserve, it is absolutely crucial that you know the going rate for your position in your specific industry. In addition, make sure you know your worth. Many employees complain about the amount and salary that they are getting. Before you even question whether or not you deserve a raise, ask yourself the following questions: Have you been at your job for a full-year? Have you taken on any new responsibilities since you were hired? What has your work looked like? Have you exceeded any expectations rather than just meet them? If the answers to these questions are positive, then go ahead and move on forward with the following action plan below.

Now that you have reflected on your position at the company, it is time for you to organize your thoughts. Think about your role now and where you want to go in the company. Having a deeper understanding of your own professional goals will allow you to support your reasoning of why you deserve an increase in your salary. In addition, begin listing specific instances where you have gone above and beyond at your workplace. This can be something minimal like helping and aiding a fellow worker to something bigger like running and entire project. Whatever is the case, be sure those situations are able to showcase your leadership, management, and strategic thinking.

Once you have fully internalized your position, your works, and your future professional goals, make sure that the timing is right. It turns out that when it comes to any type of salary negotiation, timing is everything. Most company’s wait until a performance review for a salary adjustment, others wait for a specific time frame. Whatever is the case, make sure you know the overall procedures before approaching your manager or supervisor.

Beyond timing, the logistics will play a large role in whether or not you will get your desired amount. During the negotiation meeting, make sure you know the exact number you are looking for. The more precise of a number you are in your initial negotiation request, the more likely your final offer will match to what you are hoping for. This is because the employer will assume you have done more extensive research into your overall market value to reach that specific number. In addition, to help aid your efforts, try starting off with a ‘reach’ or maximum number. This will give you leverage of what you can negotiate for in the meeting.

Now there will be a situation where things do not come out favorably on either party’s end. When considering your numbers, you should also a point where you are willing to walk away. Certain final offers are so low that you have to turn them down. This could be because of financial need, market value, or simply salary value. Make sure you know what you are worth. Understand that walking away from an offer will never be easy. But it is important to have the ability and power to say no.

The Perfect Employee

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In this ever-evolving era of startups and entrepreneurship, it is oftentimes difficult to see what businesses are looking for in an ideal employee. While as much as they want to diversity the selection of candidates, the overall concept of a perfect employee still remains the same.

First and foremost, an ideal candidate is confident in their work and in themselves. With a large amount of applicants to pick from, you want to make sure the next person you hire for your company is assertive and self-assured. There are too many applicants who waste their time comparing themselves with others. Everybody has his or her own strengths and weaknesses. The difference between a confident employee and a weak applicant is that they can accept everything as they are. This level of confidence can be translated in their personal interactions and overall office work. If you find yourself struggling to accept your abilities, especially when it comes to your weaknesses, make sure you change that. Employers like to find individuals who know they are capable of going above and beyond the average expectation.

On top of confidence, an ideal candidate is interested in building and nurturing work relationships. While there is of course a humbling process where a new candidate is the so-called ‘rookie’ of the office, you want to make sure that individual is leveraging their interactions to the best of their abilities. This is what we call building for success. This will allow them to maintain that vital network with the right people so that they can develop and improve within the workplace.

Outside of their network, an ideal candidate does not work harder, but rather works smarter. Bill Gates once said that, “I would rather choose a lazy person to do a hard job because a lazy person will find a way to do it easier.” As much as you want to find the most talented individuals for your workplace, you want to make sure they are efficient, effect, and consistent in producing the best possible products with the least possible effort. This type of maximized time gives your company a strong leverage pushing other skills needed for their development. Bare in mind, this ability does take time. In order for them to work at such a high level, they first need to understand the process. Once they understand it, the best of the best candidates are able manipulate and shape the strategy to the best of their advantage.

Beyond their work habits, an ideal candidate focuses specifically for the customer. Mark Cuban once said that, you should “treat your customers like they own you because they do.” In any business, this statement is very true. Ideal candidates recognize this dynamic and are able to change their perspective and viewpoint when talking or communicating with a customer. That type of mentality allows them to understand any customer or client’s concerns and create impactful and solutions on the day-to-day basis.

Finally, an ideal candidate sees the bigger picture for a company. When working with any type of individual, you want to make sure that they understand the overall vision and goal for your company. For an ideal employee, these individuals do not just understand the goal, but also look for opportunities to enhance your goals each and every day. They are the movers and game changers of your industry and the perfect individuals to help scale your startup into a full-fledged empire.

 

 

How to Optimize your LinkedIn Account

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With more than 380 million members, LinkedIn has become one of the fastest growing social media platforms for professionals and career like-minded individuals. The potential it has allows both young professionals and season veterans to network and connect with top-level talent and big business firms all around the world. With that being said, the one question comes to mind when you are using your LinkedIn account: Are you using LinkedIn to its fullest potential?

For many people, the answer is no. It is not because they do not understand how the site works. Instead, they underutilize their profiles that can later be an extremely powerful tool when leveraging that new career for your work trajectory. First and foremost, you need to know the basics.

What is LinkedIn and how is it used?

LinkedIn is simply a Web2.0 social media network that allows daily visitors to professionally brand themselves in the most efficient and effective way. Think of this concept like the other popular social media properties out there such as Facebook or Twitter. The only difference is that LinkedIn is primarily focused on careers and professional development. That type of style and theme enables users to connect, share, and search for informative information that can help bolster their professional image for jobs or career advancement.

While the site itself provides users with a user-friendly platform, LinkedIn does provide other features to help brand your professional image in the best possible way. Below, I have provided five vital tips that you should implement into your LinkedIn profile. This will allow you to gain more traction with your profile and structure your social media presence for visitors and potential employers.

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1. Customize your Public Profile URL

To make your LinkedIn profile look more professional, customize your public profile URL domain with your name or key phrase. Usually when you create a LinkedIn profile, the URL will be associated with a combination of numbers and letters at the end of the site’s URL. To change this, go to the settings page and customize your URL to something more simplified. To learn more, please follow the directions here.

2. Create a Bio

The best way to shape your profile is by adding a 500 to 1000-word bio on your educational and professional experience in the summary section of LinkedIn. This is usually the first thing future employer and visitors see when they visit your profile. Make sure to stick with the theme of professionalism. Be informative and highlight various accomplishments in quick short sentences. Try not to dive too deep on any personal information. Leave that for Facebook.

3. Expand on your Work Experience

To help optimize your profile on LinkedIn, try to dive deeper and provide a strong and informative synopsis of your educational background and work experience for each section. Highlight various accomplishments and try and stay quantitative. Think of this section as your resume. The more ‘numbers’ driven your profile is, the strong it will be to read. In addition, try and set a theme for the career trajectory you are trying to portray. For example, if you are going into a field of finance, it does not make any sense to add information about you working at a summer camp five to ten years ago.

4. Show Work Samples

Whether it is an article to showcase your writing or a video or presentation that highlights high profile projects, try and add a variety of media (images, documents, links, and presentations) that visitors and future employers can see. This type of content can enhance those successes you are trying to persuade in your summary and experience descriptions.

5. Create Skills and Get Endorsed

In the early 2012s, LinkedIn launched a feature called ‘endorsements,’ which enables users to endorse their skills through various connections. Start off by expanding on your skills. Use key words that are relatable to your previous jobs and projects. Then try and engage with other LinkedIn accounts so that those specific individuals can return the favor back. To get this started, try reaching out to coworkers and friends. Then build upon your shared networks.

How to Find a Mentor at the Workplace

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Whether you are starting a new career or transitioning into a new position, it pays to have a helping hand guiding you through the process. While some people may think that you need to do it all on your own, the reality is that it is just easier with a little bit of direction. That is why it is absolutely vital that you try and find a mentor at the workplace.

Think of the greats. Michael Jordan didn’t become an NBA legend without looking up to someone who walked that same path. Steve Jobs did not find the inspiration without his predecessors laying down the brickwork. When it comes down to it, a mentor can provide a fresh new perspective and an institutional knowledge about your employer, your industry, and your future. These individuals allow you to benefit from their own personal experience so that you can anticipate various obstacles that you can eventually leverage in your favor. By having this helping hand, many individuals, including myself, have benefited personally and professionally throughout their lives.

So with a mentor, what type of qualities should you look for in an ideal advisor? What about them personally and professionally should catch your eye?

When it comes down to your search, you want to find someone that you can respect. Oftentimes, people pick mentors based on their age or their title. While this may be beneficial, especially if your company values rankings within that way, it does not represent holistically the myriad of characteristics that represent you. Make sure that you can find an individual with the beliefs and opinions that you can respect. Beyond respect, you also want to find someone who is supportive. Just having an individual with all the best qualities is not enough. When push comes to shove, you want to make sure that the person who is guiding you is also willing to support you in every which way. If you find that they are too busy or uncooperative, you may have to look for a new mentor. If, however, they are willing to spend the time to help you reflect on your decisions or your future, then you are in good hands. Last but not least, you want to make sure that your mentor is willing to offer constructive criticism. Just because you have done all the right things does not necessarily define you as perfect. At the workplace, you will always find room to grow. The minute that growth stops is the minute you should reconsider your position. For a mentor, that type of advice and criticism is something that will push you further than before.

With that being said, how can I find a mentor at the workplace?

When finding a mentor, you want to make sure that this person fills out the various requirements discussed above. Start off by asking yourself what you want in a mentor. This can be someone who can advise you professionally or this can be someone who can aid you personally. Whatever is the reason, make sure your goals are aligned. Once you have figured out what you want in a mentor, check to see if your human resource department has a mentorship program. For big firms, they usually try and pair off their employees with certain veterans, especially those groomed for management. If your job does not have this as an option, try and look for an individual at your workplace with both the academic background and work experience that fits your ideal status. This will allow you to hone in on specific individuals who have already made positive examples of them at the office. Last but not least, if you cannot find that individual, look outside of your workplace. Mentorship does not have to be a business relationship. You can find mentors outside of the workplace from associations you belong to, activities you are involved in, and even friends or relatives that can help shape your professional future.

The Importance of Communication at the Workplace

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No matter what industry you are in, efficient, effective, and consistent verbal and nonverbal communication skill are incredibly valuable in the workplace. Some companies even go as far to invest a large portion of their time and money to help train and aid their employees on effective communication. Why? The simple reason is that good communication can take you beyond the conversation to something more impactful for your business and your customers.

By understanding these benefits of effective, effective, and consistent communication, you will be able to help your company focus on building a strong and conducive work culture that will be vital for your business’s future success.

So what do we need to know about strong communication?

First and foremost, you need to understand how it can help on a diverse and holistic aspect. With effective workplace communication, the most important way for this to work is how it facilitates across a variety of departments. Oftentimes, bad communication can result in various misunderstandings that can be harmful for your company’s overarching goals and visions. To reduce this negative, try and see how you can train your employees to communicate across different departments. Think of this in a various situations such as mangers to employees or departments to department. Fine-tuning messages across these groups will allow you to avoid cultural confusion and miscommunication. See what your managers and leaders in your business can do to simplify the information in strong, informative, laymen terms. In addition, see what errors there were beforehand and how you can improve operations to run even smoother.

As for team building, try and see how you can create a strong and more effective line of communication in the workplace that helps employees and managers perform at their fullest. One of the biggest problems you can find in the office is that employees have a timid distrust for upper level management. To alleviate this pressure, try and create a role of integrity and responsibility between the two individuals. Show that the communication itself is meant to support rather than to criticize. Last but not least, try and produce a positive line of communication with recognition and positive reinforcement. Many employees can underperform because they feel that their work is not valued at the office. To avoid that hostile work environment, create positive incentives such as rewards or shout outs that can boost the overall morale of your company.

Last but not least, make sure the line of communication is easily streamlined to the customer itself. Regardless of your company’s field or product, make sure the customer knows the shift and changes your product will see in the future. Apple was able to streamline their new products through various showcases and presentations that tapped new markets and new audiences. While, we cannot all be Apple, it does not mean you cannot rationalize your company’s changes in simple explanations through your employees or through various marketing strategies.