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Category Archives: Workplace Relationship Tools

Working remotely? Out of sight does not have to be out of mind

Long-distance relationships can be hard.  Just ask anyone who has ever been in one.  And right now, courtesy of the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of thousands of people across the country are engaged in a long-distance relationship of a different kind.  With their boss.

Working remotely comes at a cost.  It takes more effort – more communication, more attention, more energy – to keep the bond with your boss strong.  If you plan to grow and progress in your career, then be aware that out of sight can quickly become out of mind.  So, if you’re working remotely, it’s essential that you take conscious steps to not only stay connected to your boss, but also let him/her know how well you’re handling crises and achieving organizational objectives.

It is possible to successfully build your reputation from afar

In my newest column for The Globe and Mail, published in Saturday’s print edition (on page B5) and on their website just this morning, I explain the single deliberate action you must take to make working remotely a success; the six steps that will keep your long-distance relationship robust.

How to maintain the long-distance relationship with your boss

 If you’re a paid online subscriber to The Globe, here is a direct link to the column on their site: https://tgam.ca/2WmthcM

If you’re working remotely, whether it’s due to the recent pandemic, or even if you’ve been doing it for a while, I’d love to hear what you’re doing to make sure that “out of sight” with your boss, doesn’t become “out of mind”.  Please share your strategies and experiences so that we can all learn from one another.   Add your comment below. 

I write a regular monthly column for The Globe and Mail Report on Business, under the banner of Leadership Matters.  Here are links to some of the more recent ones:

Influential authority vs positional authority (and the chimpanzee Mike)

The topic of influential authority versus positional authority comes up often in my discussions with leaders.  Not long ago though, it came up in an unexpected context.

Recently, I had the opportunity to spend some time with Dr. Birute Galdikas, renowned primatologist and one of the world’s leading experts in orangutans.  Just as Jane Goodall did for chimpanzees and Dian Fossey did for mountain gorillas, Dr. Birute has devoted her life to learning about and protecting orangutans.  As a (not-so-secret) all-things natural science geek all my life, meeting and conversing with her was definitely a bucket list item for me!  When Dr. Birute learned that I run a leadership development consultancy, she started drawing parallels between primate behaviour and leadership, and shared several behavioural examples and stories.

Mike, the chimpanzee, and his rising status

influential authority

One story in particular stuck with me, likely because her telling of it was so funny.  She told me about Mike, a chimpanzee that had been observed by Dr. Jane Goodall for many years.  Mike was a young male in a troupe, and quite submissive to all the other males.  That is, until one day when he accidentally discovered how he could intimidate all the other chimpanzees.  He started batting a gasoline can around, and realized quickly that all the loud thuds and irritating banging noises made the other chimpanzees nervous and apprehensive of him.  With some practice, Mike was able to run down the narrow forest Continue reading

Want respect at work? Here are eight ways to earn it

Respect.  Unequivocally, it is the one thing we all want.  And respect at work, even more so.  Yet, many people unknowingly engage in self-sabotage, behaving and acting in ways which cause others, both bosses and co-workers, to lose respect for them.

Respect at work is earned

Respect at work is earned.  If you are the go-to person who is sought out for input and advice, it didn’t just accidentally happen.  If, when you speak, others listen, then rest assured that it’s not a coincidence.  If others make it a point to regularly keep you in the know, then it isn’t just good luck.  Respect at work is earned, and if you’re wondering exactly what it takes, then my latest column in The Globe and Mail answers the question.  Published this morning, I share eight specific ways you can earn the respect you desire.

Here are eight ways to earn respect at work

 

respect at workIf you get the print version of The Globe, you’ll find this column on page B9.

Note: if you are a subscriber to The Globe and Mail, you can also read the column directly at their website at this link: https://tgam.ca/2tQRXhM

Please, tell me if this subject – respect at work – and the eight tips resonate with you.  What have you observed in your workplace?  Who gets respect, and who doesn’t?  I’d love to hear your perspectives.  Please add your comments below.

If you want to be deliberate and thoughtful about ways to position yourself for career growth and success, you may also find these links to recent past columns I wrote for The Globe and Mail to be helpful:

  • How to survive the ‘extreme’ narcissist and make your workday bearable
  • The informational interview: A solid way to boost your career
  • Seven lessons learned as a first-time entrepreneur

How to work with a narcissist

An “extreme” narcissist is someone who has an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, and a lack of empathy for others. In the workplace, this manifests as someone who exaggerates their achievements, takes credit for others work, needs constant adoration, is self-entitled, and uses other people to further themselves.  If you happen to work with one, or even worse, for one, it can be a waking nightmare!

So can you stop these people from making your work life miserable?  Or is quitting your only option?  The good news is that most narcissists don’t stick around in a single job for very long.  So if you can find ways to achieve a working relationship that is at least tolerable, you just need to outlast them until they leave.

In my latest column in The Globe and Mail that published this morning, I offer several ideas to make your workday with a narcissist more bearable.

How to survive the ‘extreme’ narcissist and make your workday bearable

narcissist

If you get the print version of The Globe, you’ll find this column on page B9.

Note: if you are a subscriber to The Globe and Mail, you can also read the column directly at their website at this link: https://tgam.ca/33ZdMYB

What do you think?

Well, I’d love to hear about your experiences with narcissists in your workplace.  Have you been able to develop a tolerable working relationship?  What ideas do you have to share?  Please comment below. 

As frequent readers of the blog know, I write a monthly column for The Globe and Mail, under the broad banner of “Leadership Matters”.  My most recent columns are linked below:

A leadership lesson from how owls hunt

leadership lessonNature abounds with lessons, and I am always fascinated to discover that many of those lessons offer insights into leadership.  I was recently reading about owls, and I was excited to discover yet another leadership lesson.

Did you know that owls don’t hunt by sight or smell, they hunt primarily by sound?  And nature has given them a very sophisticated and elegant way of ensuring that they can catch prey to survive and thrive.

The ears of many species of owls are asymmetrical, with one ear slightly higher but directed downwards and the other somewhat lower but facing upward. As a result, sounds that originate from below eye level are heard louder in the left ear, while those that come from above are heard more clearly in the right.  The differences in volume and frequency allow to owl to find its prey, even in complete darkness.  The owl’s success lies in its ability to pay attention to what is happening both below and above it.

And therein lies the leadership lesson

Which is not unlike what it takes to be successful as a leader.  Leaders have to pay attention to what is happening both below and above them. Continue reading

Eight steps to finding a mentor

You’ve heard it before: to further your career, finding a mentor to guide you is important.  Mentors are people who have experience and knowledge in your desired vocation, and who are willing and able to share what they know.  But how exactly does one go about finding a mentor?  It’s certainly not going to happen if you wait around hoping that a mentor will miraculously find you.  Successful mentoring relationships are intentional, and the impetus for action has to come from you.

In my latest column in The Globe and Mail, published in this morning’s print and online editions, I lay out eight important steps that will help you get the mentorship that you desire.

finding a mentor

Eight steps to finding a mentor

The above link takes you to the online version on The Globe’s website.  But if you get the print version of The Globe, you’ll find it on page B7.

Occasionally, The Globe places my columns behind their paywall; if that happens, here is a link to a pdf version we have archived on our website: https://www.turningmanagersintoleaders.com/PDF/G&M_ManagementPrint_070819.pdf

I would love to hear from you!

Well?  Please don’t be shy, I’d love to hear from you.  What have you done to find mentors to help you further your career?  If you’re actively seeking mentors right now, what is working for you?  And what are your challenges?  Are you in a place in your career where you are able to mentor others?  If so, what are potential “mentees” doing right, and what are they doing wrong?  Please share your perspectives by adding your comments below.

Four ways to turn organizational politics into a positive force

We’ve all seen and heard it: when we win on an issue in the workplace, we call it good leadership. When we lose, we call it organizational politics.  But in reality, it’s likely neither.  Whether or not our position prevails on workplace matters is more a function of two other dimensions – your organizational acumen and your perceived integrity – two factors identified by researchers Simon Baddeley and Kim James in the 1980’s.

If you come from the school of thought that says (organizational) politics is a bad word, then it’s time to find a way to make it work for you, instead of against you.  In my latest column in The Globe and Mail, published in today’s edition, I offer four specific ideas to help you stride forward in the direction of good leadership rather than the rocky road of organizational politics.

Organizational politics

Making the most of organizational politics

If you get the print version of The Globe, you’ll find it on page B8.

Note: if you are a subscriber to The Globe and Mail, you can also read the column directly at their website at this link: https://tgam.ca/2VKyAjt

I’d love to hear about your experiences with organizational politics.  What is happening where you work?  What deliberate and specific actions are you taking initiate and cultivate relationships to build your integrity and your understanding of the dynamics in your organization?  Please share your perspective and your experiences by adding your comments below.

How to work with someone you don’t respect

When you have little professional respect for a client, a co-worker, an employee, or even your boss, it can be difficult to stay motivated and get things done.  But the unfortunate reality is that sooner or later, you will have to work with or for someone you don’t respect — people whom you may find difficult, distasteful or downright unbearable.  While it’s certainly easier to work alongside those you like, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you can only do a good job if you respect your workmates. In fact, you can function effectively with (almost) anyone if you keep just a few things in mind.

It is possible!

How to work with someone you don’t respect is exactly the subject I address in my latest column in The Globe and Mail which published this morning.

How to work with almost everyone — even those you don’t respect

If you get the print version of The Globe, you would have seen it on page B9.

Note: if you are a subscriber to The Globe and Mail, you can also read the column directly at their website at this link: https://tgam.ca/2B9JDKz

The reality is that sometimes you’re just going to have to work with people you don’t like and respect – it’s all part of being an adult in the world of work.  You’ve read my suggestions.  What is your advice to handle these kinds of situations with poise and equanimity?  I’d love to hear from you.  Please share by adding your Comments below.

Five foolproof ways to destroy workplace trust

Are you trustworthy?  Do you find that your coworkers are reluctant to rely on you?  Are you left out of confidential meetings?  Does your supervisor double-check your work or micro-manage you?  Are you always the last person to find out what everyone else already seems to know?

Regular readers of the blog know that I often talk about the importance of building workplace trust.  In fact, in a previous blog post titled How can you build trust in the workplace?, I offered four ideas. Workplace trust is essential to establish not only your reputation, but also to build a strong network of people who will help you throughout your career.  So if you often find yourself in situations such as those above, it may be time to self-reflect; to consider whether your own actions are inadvertently causing others to view you as untrustworthy.

Five things you may be doing that send the wrong message

My latest column in The Globe and Mail published on December 31, and in it I spelled out five unintentional behaviours you may be exhibiting that cause others think that you are not to be trusted.

Unintentional behaviours may be sending co-workers signals you’re untrustworthy

workplace trustIf you get the print version of The Globe, you would have seen it on page B7.

Note: if you are a subscriber to The Globe and Mail, you can also read the column directly at their website at this link: https://tgam.ca/2VlSTDZ

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.  Do you work with people who are untrustworthy?  Are there any other signs that you think are dead giveaways of people who should not be trusted?  Please share your perspective and your experiences by adding your comments below.

Strengthen social bonds at work by using music

Strengthen social bondsBack in July, music therapist and my professional colleague Jennifer Buchanan guested on the blog with a post on boosting productivity at the office by using music.  Because this is an area that not many people are knowledgeable about, I was delighted to give our readers an opportunity to learn more about how music therapists use music to curb stress, boost morale, and restore health, and what leaders could learn that would benefit their workplaces.  Her post was so well-received that I was thrilled that she agreed to contribute a second post to the blog.  Her contribution today is about music can be used to strengthen social bonds at work.  And as leaders, we know how important it is to nurture and strengthen social bonds between employees – it leads to increased morale, higher productivity and less turnover.

Music: the culture connection that can strengthen social bonds

There is no doubt that music plays a role in our wellbeing. But researchers now suggest that music also plays a significant role in strengthening social bonds. In a 2013 review of the research on music, music psychologist Stefan Koelsch described several ways music impacts our ability to connect with one another—by affecting systems involved in empathy, trust, and cooperation. Here are some ways music can strengthen social bonds at work and hopefully get us back on track: Continue reading