Working with Difficult People: 3 Questions to Help You Turn Your Tormentors into Teachers

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By Judy Ringer

Kurt Vonnegut uses the phrase “wrang-wrangs” to describe great teachers who are placed in our life disguised as difficult, confrontational, disrespectful, and sometimes horrible people. “Wrang-wrangs” are placed there on purpose and can teach us important lessons, if we’re willing to listen and learn.

Three Key Components of Effective Onboarding

 photo Three-Key-Components-of-Effective-Onboarding.jpg Jack listens as a company representative lectures for several hours about ABC, Inc. He leaves the meeting feeling disoriented, remembering little of what he has heard, and wishing he had gotten to know some of the other participants. Upon returning to his department, he is told by the secretary to read the Employee Handbook until his manager has some free time. Three hours later, his manager drops by his desk (which, because his own computer and telephone have not yet been set up, is actually the desk of a vacationing co-worker). Before rushing off to another meeting, his manager instructs him to sit with Jill to observe her as she performs her duties. Not only is Jill unprepared to train Jack, she isn't even aware that someone new has joined the department. Furthermore, dissatisfied with her recent performance appraisal, Jill spends more time complaining than working. At the end of the day, Jack leaves work famished because no one had invited him to lunch or even bothered to show him where the cafeteria is located.

Sound familiar?

As in any relationship, first impressions count. Unfortunately, Jack's introduction to ABC, Inc. did not set a positive tone for his career with the company. His first day was a huge disappointment; it was confusing, disorganized, and disconnected. Only hours after arriving at work so full of excitement and high expectations, he began to regret his decision to accept the position.

Perception is Reality: 8 Steps for Changing How Others See You

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By Joel Garfinkle

James is an up-and-coming sales manager for a Fortune 500 company. He sees himself as outgoing, friendly, fast-moving — a real deal maker. Some of the people he works with, however — as well as some of his clients — see him as a fast-talking backslapper and a bit of a phony. Which perception is accurate? And why does it matter?

Delivering Negative Feedback to Employees is Tricky, But These Tips Will Help

Delivering Negative Feedback to Employees is Tricky, But These Tips Will Help
Performance appraisals can be tough on both managers and employees, especially when a problem or weakness needs to be addressed. To further complicate matters, feedback should be provided on an ongoing, year-round basis, not just during yearly review meetings. The following tips will help these conversations flow more smoothly, and ensure that employees receive the information they need to successfully turn things around.

Avoid Making Assumptions About Candidates' Soft Skills When Interviewing

Don’t Confuse Disability with Inability!
Some job candidates will be quite personable during the interview, which may lead you to believe they possess a broader range of soft skills than they actually do. Other candidates, however, might make a more neutral or even negative first impression. Whether due to nervousness, lack of knowledge about the interview process, or social deficits which may or may not be related to a disability, it’s important not to make snap judgments about a person’s skill set or ability to do the job.

Time Management for Managers: Five Practical Ways to Make the Most of Your Time

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As a manager, you are responsible for overseeing both people and processes. You may, at times, feel there aren't enough hours in a day to do all that you need to do. Here are some simple tips for freeing up your time to focus on the most important aspects of your job.
  1. Consider the "payoff" when planning and performing your work.

    High-payoff activities are those that provide the greatest long-term value, as they are important to the fulfillment of your goals. They are often complex, time-consuming, and require uninterrupted concentration. Low-payoff activities are typically short, quick, and easy to do, but provide no real benefit. They tend to outnumber and take time away from high-payoff activities. Here are some strategies for effectively performing each:

Focusing on Career Development with Inmates

By Amy Thul-Sigler

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At 25 years old, I signed a one year contract to work as an adult educator in a county prison. It was my first job after receiving a master’s degree in counseling. The job granted me hundreds of eye opening experiences. It was through this experience that I learned essential strategies for helping those who were incarcerated with career preparations.

My experiences did more than just improve my career counseling skills. I learned about ‘the hole,’ counted the pencils I brought to work, and heard countless times not to tell the inmates my last name for safety reasons. This was a new position, and I was hired to fill multiple roles that included teaching GED subjects, prepping inmates to find work upon their release, and teaching them skills needed to be a working citizen, such as interviewing skills and workplace etiquette. Without any resources to begin, I tried various ways to build the class with pencils and paper only.

8 Qualities of Effective Team Players

 photo 8-Qualities-of-Effective-Team-Players.jpg Throughout your career, you will be expected to work closely with co-workers to achieve a shared goal. You might be assigned to a team formed to achieve a specific outcome, such as improving a business process, coming up with new product ideas, or identifying additional customer markets. Or, you may simply need to work with co-workers to perform your day-to-day job duties.

Teams often produce better outcomes than individuals, and do so better, faster, and more creatively. This is because individual team members have:

  • Their own unique set of strengths, which can be leveraged for higher quality results.
  • Different people in their networks, which increases access to, and sharing of, information among the group.
  • Diverse experiences and perspectives, which contribute to a bigger pool of ideas and better problem solving.

Can Employers Ask Job Seekers and Employees About Disabilities?

 photo Can-Employers-Ask-Job-Seekers-and-Employees-About-Disabilities.jpg The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) limits the types of questions that employers can ask job seekers and current employees. These vary based on a number of factors, including whether a disability is known to the employer. A disability would be known to an employer because it is a visible (obvious) disability, it was revealed directly by the individual or during a medical exam, and/or a reasonable accommodation was requested.

Another determinant of whether an employer’s inquiry is lawful under the ADA is the specific stage of the employment process during which the question is asked. Specifically, was it before or after a conditional job offer had been made? The answer to this question helps determine the amount of disability-related information that can be requested.

Power Up Your Communication: How to Leverage the 4 Communication Styles

 photo Power-Up-Your-Communication.jpg By Astrid Baumgardner

Think about the last time you were at a party and had the opportunity to observe a lot of people in action:

  • Who dominated the conversation and put a premium on being right and convincing others to go along with his solutions?

  • How about the serious person who rather cautiously talked in precise detail?

  • And how about the person who was bursting with enthusiasm and could not wait to tell you her great idea?

  • Who walked into the room and began by introducing herself to others, spending time with each person to establish a connection?

These are examples of 4 different communication styles: