3 Surprising Tips to Help You Master Communication at Work

The consumer-related and production-oriented business world we live in makes it difficult to discover the power of quietude and receptiveness to the environment. Taking action is so championed that most people find it extremely complicated to sit calm and do nothing, at least on the outside.

Perhaps this is so because most job descriptions include doing something; although call-center agents may disagree with me – just how many times they have needed to sit calmly through a client’s angry rant understanding that doing nothing is the best possible “doing” under the current circumstances?

I am sure they will be the ones who do not only know what I am trying to say here, but also the most adept at adding to it. Call-center agents and other service professionals feel free to help!

For others, you may just find these three (in)actions to drastically improve your world of office (and other) communications.

I am talking about listening, presence and response.

1.Listening vs Hearing

Talks with clients,  informal Skype communication, mobile ringing, new emails arriving, water supplies being filled up, and on top of everything, the car service calls to say that your car will not be ready by Friday as the dealership failed to deliver the necessary spare part you desperately need by the weekend.

And you promised your daughter that you will finally take her to visit her best friend who lives in the other part of the town!

By taking so much in, it is strenuous to keep a part of your energy for listening. You can only hear, and not really listen. Some people call this active listening.

This name is the best description for the illusive passivity of the quality. If you learn the difference between listening and hearing, you will know how to act from a point of understanding an essential human need shared by people everywhere.

All people have the need to be deeply heard. Active listening includes presence with all five senses. And, no, this does not mean that you should go and randomly kiss, stare or smell your colleagues!

It means that you are fully aware of the environment and the changes in the person you talk to so that you know the best way to read the message and respond. Even if you are not able to understand or fulfill all wishes and requests made by others, at least you will know that you have accommodated a genuine human need for connection.

There is great power in listening. Use it wisely!

2.Presence vs Presentation

Listening brings us to the second powerful (in)action. They both have something in common and this relates to the five senses mentioned before.

To be fully present and available for another human being you need to be able to refrain from self-presentation for a minute. When you make a space for other people to present and be themselves, you are fulfilling the crucial human need for acceptance.

Presence does not mean being in the same office or agreeing to attend a meeting and share a conference room.

True presence means being with another human through all that they are, without any judgment. It means calm presence with no nasty sighs, ambiguous looks, eyes-rolling or turning your back on an open conversation and leaving the office.

First of all, full presence needs to happen inside us, so that we can give it to another.

3.Response vs Reaction

The third and all-encompassing quality for all three inaction power tools goes a step further.

By employing the first two “passive” qualities you will be able to act in the best possible way.

I am sure you can remember a time when, instead of waiting for the person who talks to you to finish the sentence, you are already creating an answer in your head.

One needs to be very careful – this often happens later in the stage of (business or any other) relationships, when assumptions, expectations and learned behavior take the place of real-time connection.

A response is exactly in that space which shows up between the questions and the answer.

If you find a way of processing all that has come in without jumping into action with both feet, you have mastered the vital communication skill – response instead of reaction.

The response comes from an authentic space that happens in the now.

A Bonus Tip: All these power tools are valid for you, too. Do not forget: first of all, listen, be present and responsive for your own sake.

A Bonus Bonus Tip: Be patient in your attempts to become a master office communicator. Remember – borderline obnoxiousness is not included in this article, as for some people even Buddha-like communication skills will not be enough.

So, give yourself some slack and a pat on the back for each day of progress!

Call-center wizards – bring on the comments!

Photo credit: International Information Program (IIP) viaFoter.com / CC BY-ND

3 Actions Leaders Can Take to Create a Pleasant Workplace

How to Turn Your Colleagues Into Angels

What does work have to do with angels? Well, at least close to the holidays, it is easier to see the symbolism of the heavenly beings. The workplace does not have much in common with the winged creatures, yet it does so with angelic qualities.

People are not always angels. Work included. It seems that work atmosphere can often bring devilish qualities to people who have displayed the golden side of their character.

The expression may sound funny, and you may laugh it all you like, but promoting angelic qualities in employees makes for success. Constructive behavior improves, develops and brings the riches closer.

How to behave constructively?

1.Build and nurture positive relationships.

This one is an oldie, but a goodie. Employees who have better relationships with their supervisors are less likely to develop counterproductive behavior. Ah, but there are so many things that come under the hat of “positive relationships”. You may think you cannot manage all. If there is only one thing you can start doing just now in this direction, choose equivalence of power.  Make wise decisions on how you use your position. Distribution of power that goes both ways is most successful.

2.Create a sense of justice.

The sense of justice is very subjective. We do like to define and measure what is just or justified, but the feeling of justice is very personal. There is a lot of research on justice. Most of it is connected with behaviors, and less is about personality traits or about organizational climate. These are two things that need to be looked into further.

It is very likely that the dynamics of the space occupied – the workplace will contribute to one person’s sense of justice. One would act differently in war and in peace.

This is especially important as counterproductive work behavior is contagious. It is the “If they can do it, I can do it” thinking.

Counterproductivity is present in groups with less developed consciousness prone to primitive behavior. Primitive behavior is to the benefit of the individual, and not to the collective. It can often be to other members’ disadvantage. The less developed the group consciousness, the more are success and intelligence related to abuse of power, violence, and destructive actions towards people or property.

3.Trust and direct.

The atmosphere of trust and direction is one without resistance. When you trust and direct you assume and expect co-operation from others. If you suspect and delegate, you assume and expect animosity and resistance.

Can you notice the difference in the wording? In the latter situation, you further yourself from the other person and the responsibility. You “throw” something at them. The first choice of words is related to positive reinforcement and the second to retribution.

This is often the reason why performance management programs fail. It is the essence of “You can make people do, but you cannot make people want”. Promoting angelic qualities is only possible if you make people want. Force and penalties do not work.

Staying away from making people do, does not mean putting up with behavior which is violent or abusive to people, work equipment or property. It is simply an understanding what works and what doesn’t.

This comes as a perfect place to point out the one thing you should avoid doing:

Please do not make a lot of effort if your collaborator is low on conscientiousness and empathy. People low on the trait of conscientiousness at work are more likely to develop counterproductive behavior. One needn’t expect from them a lot of awareness about a righteous exchange and collective contribution to the group.

At the end, this last point strikes the importance of selection and recruitment. If development, change and promotion of angelic group qualities is something that you want to see at your workplace, a good place to start is by recruiting conscientious employees.

Happy holidays!

Featured Photo Credit: Free the Image via Foter.com / CC BY

10 Personality Traits of a Leader with a Flexible Mindset

A leader with a democratic mindset is what we all wish to see in our workplaces. They get more done and are more fun to be with. They are well admired and respected for the personality they show and shine with at the office. They handle conflicts well. They understand the elasticity of deadlines.

Leaders with democratic mindsets know work, know life and know people. Their mind is their tool. It is not the other way round.

To have a better grasp of the democratic mindset, imagine the differences between a democratic and an authoritarian societal system. The metaphor is dry, but, nevertheless, it does a good job of illustrating the heaviness of strict thinking against the grace of a milder one.

How can you recognize these people among the many who come in touch with you at work? How can you be aware and develop such personality qualities yourself? And how to know what and where to look for, when we want to hire a candidate for a position of a leader?

1. Focuses on the needs behind the feelings of his coworkers.

The content of the work is important, but a greater part of a good working relationship is about the feelings behind the content, and especially the needs behind those feelings. Most human beings’ daily needs circle around safety, recognition, connection, acceptance and importance. A great leader shows that they have these in mind all the time.

2. Likes mediation.

They like to include others and abolish a solid chunk of their need for control and power in conflicts. Most of the unused potential and creative energy at work is wasted on unresolved conflicts. Instead of dwelling, democratic leaders give over the reins to a party with a fresh solution to a problem.

3. Trusts in life’s benevolence.

Basically, though being aware of potential risks, they would rather give thumbs up to the good nature of people. Trust in benevolence is what entrepreneurship is very much about – one cannot jump into the unknown without knowing that success or a valuable lesson awaits there.

4. Knows that truth is relative.

They are able to see that each and every one of us lives and feels the world differently. Although we do live in a society of set and more or less optimized principles, the perceived personal value, meaning and significance that each and every one of us gives to each experience and to life events is subjective.

5. Possesses compassion for multiple opinions.

They possess, what can be best described as ”compassion for opinions”. One cannot be “not opinionated” unless they approach emotionally loaded attitudes with compassion – meaning gently, but straightforwardly.

6. Dismisses the ‘black or white’ approach to handling work issues.

What would be like if you only had the option to talk to a coworker who is a fanatic and does not recognize exceptions from a rule? Sometimes, straying into the gray area brings the strongest possible progress.

 7. Sees the strengths of horizontality.

In groups with horizontal structures (including organizations, companies and workplaces) power is more or less equally distributed in the horizontal line. It means that power is not concentrated in one person or in one hierarchical line. A democratic mindset is aware of group identity and collective consciousness.

 8. Welcomes change.

Even more, he or she loves change. This leader is not stuck in time. Inflexibility is not his only familiar functioning mode. He learns and evolves all the time. This means that moving deadlines, adjusting budgets, innovating, molding and fluidity is a daily practice.

 9. Knows how to attract.

A great leader, or a great entrepreneur, or a great manager does not always need to pursue. It is sometimes enough to give the initial impulse and let chances, people and resources step forward. A democratic mind can let go of ambition and let space fill in for itself.

10. Knows how to take a joke.

There is a very strong prejudice over fun at work. “All work and no fun” goes the proverbial wisdom in the famous saying. Is the stereotype that work cannot be fun true? You know that you can produce serious results and still have lots of fun doing that. Maybe even more so. Fun is play, play is creativity. And creativity births productivity.

Photo credit: perzonseo via Foter.com / CC BY

how to have a good day at work and smile

How to Have a Good Day at Work

We all want to start the day on the high note, keep up the good energy throughout the day and avoid feeling exhausted when we take a look at the day behind.

In the morning, we want to have sufficient energy to keep the rest of the day rolling out and pulsing vibrantly.

Often, there is so much information on the topic of how to have a good day at work that it creates further unnecessary stress.

Instead of just be, stay in the moment and relax, we try to do read and do more.

Is this the best way to enjoying yourself at work? You can keep it simple and still reap many benefits.

The New Office Mantra: Breathe, Hydrate, and Move

What are the three simple activities or awarenesses you need to have in mind to keep your fire gloriously burning without fusing? And how to keep the relaxation and simply being part of it?

1. Breathe

Stop your work for a moment, fully exhale, and breathe in the fresh air with an almost 90-percent capacity.

When you have too much to do or you passionately want to do a good job, you have a tendency to hold our breath in. This is often because you love what you do and it is important to you.

how to have a good day at work stress-free

Image by Jan Vašek from Pixabay

You may have noticed how the pressure builds up in the body when you lack oxygen. Your body clenches under the importance of the task in front of you and you stop breathing, focusing with all your powers on successful completion.

Whether you love it or not so much, you still adopt the resistance mode and hold the stress in.

When you breathe fully, you are in the flow, without overbearing your systems with unhealthy stress. The flow is a state of non-resistance in which you can fully utilize your creative energies and be the best you can be.

According to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, an American-Hungarian psychologist, flow is the secret of happiness. Why not take his advice and apply it to the office during your everyday work?

2. Hydrate

Thousands of words have been written about the significance of Her Majesty the H20. They still don’t do her justice as she deserves.

Drinking water and staying hydrated is a Number One rule or the rule of all rules.

It is not a kind reminder – it is a rule. Water equals life. Water equals better brain function, vigilance, and improved bodily physiological responses. In turn, improved mind and body shape deliver greater work potential.

How to have a good day at work hydrate

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Apart from having a bottle on your desk, you should get used to more frequent trips to the water cooler and the toilet afterward.

Toilets and water coolers are the spots where colleagues often meet for friendly banter. Additionally, short office get-togethers are the place-to-be for collaborative fruitful ideas that don’t come to mind when you sit alone at your desk.

3. Move

A sedentary work style has major drawbacks, for example:

  • The body suffers as a whole
  • The spine deteriorates
  • Hands and neck become inflexible

The human body is used to the movement.

Movement is not just fun. It is a basic human need. Growth happens in movement. Dynamic developments happen in movement. Expansion requires stepping out of your comfort zone.

how to have a good day at work growth

Image by Nattanan Kanchanaprat from Pixabay

And most business leaders agree that growth, dynamic progress, and expansion are at the core of each endeavor and would like to see more of those in a great workday.

Getting up of the chair is of an absolute benefit for everyone who spends their time working seated. This should happen often, perhaps as often as every half an hour.

The body gets an energetic boost by putting itself into action.

The mind and the body are in mutual interdependence. Where one goes, the other naturally follows. A great mind-body connection is the essence of high-quality work.

You can make the breathe-hydrate-move office mantra a part of your work life with ease:

  1. Take the “O” out of oxygen as a symbol for the “breathe” part of the mantra.
  2. Make the “H” for hydrogen a part of “hydrate”.
  3. When the two connect together in a “2”, strolling to the watercooler for a glass of H2O in a relaxed way puts everything together.

This is how a simple glass of H2O and some activity can contribute to your happiness. 

Finally, here is another unoriginal yet useful idea – if you don’t like staring at water reminder apps, put a “Breathe-Hydrate-Move” board sign hanging on your office’s wall. That will do the job, too.

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