Back-to-work tips for handling six office annoyances
Published Tuesday, January 3, 2017 10:10AM EST
As many of us recover from the holidays and head back to work, the beginning of a new year can be a good time to approach your career with a new outlook. To help you shake off the post-holiday blues and smoothly transition back to work, career coach Shanna Landolt, the president of The Landolt Group, stopped by CTV’s Your Morning on Tuesday to offer some helpful tips on how to deal with common issues in the workplace.
You don’t like your boss:
If you have a thorny relationship with your boss, Landolt stressed that it’s important to remember that the situation is temporary.
“Your boss isn’t going to be in that role forever,” Landolt said, suggesting employees shift their thinking. “You’re not going to be in that role forever.”
Consider that a supervisor is typically in their position because of some ability to perform the job, so try focusing on their positive qualities instead of fixating on their shortcomings, Landolt says, and you may find some common ground.
The career coach says, another option is to try “leading up.” Landolt explained that approaching your boss with ideas and suggestions might help them perceive you as a contributing member of the team and lead to a more affable relationship. Of course, Landolt cautions that it’s ultimately up to your boss whether they take your advice.
If you have mountains of paperwork to complete or a deadline looming, talkative coworkers can get in the way.
If you’re a leader in the workplace, Landolt suggests letting colleagues know when you’re available to discuss their concerns. She also said you could try developing somebody else’s leadership skills by directing a colleague to them for help.
Even if you’re not a boss or leader at your workplace, chatty coworkers can be frustrating. Landolt said wearing a pair of headphones, the more obvious the better, to signal to others that you’re busy at that time.
For a more obvious tactic, Landolt suggested displaying a “quiet zone” sign on your chair or desk. She also said you could ask to work from home or in a separate conference room if the task requires your undivided attention.
Lastly, Landolt said you could take a direct approach and just tell your colleagues that you’re busy and can’t talk at that moment.
You have probably been stuck in one of those meetings that seems to drag on and on without a lot getting done. Landolt recommended setting a clear agenda and time limit at the beginning, so everyone is on the same page.
Instead of sitting around a table leisurely eating bagels in a boardroom, Landolt suggested holding meetings where everyone stands to speed up the gathering.
Landolt also said it might be a good idea to schedule phone meetings while you’re commuting to work or travelling. She says, using a headset to chat in the car or on the train can help you save time at the office.
You made a mistake:
Sometimes your workplace problems are your fault. If you made a mistake on the job, Landolt advises owning up to the blunder immediately.
“The worst thing that you can do is to go into denial or pretend it didn’t happen or even worse try to cover it up,” she said.
Landolt said you should tell your boss right away what happened and let them know that you understand the impact of the mistake. She also said you should begin brainstorming with them to mitigate the problem and prevent it from happening again in the future.
Even if the mistake is severe or public in nature, Landolt said there might be a lesson in it: So share it with your colleagues so they don’t repeat it.
You receive a bad performance review:
Landolt said this can be particularly difficult to manage if you weren’t expecting to receive a negative review. She said your reaction shouldn’t be dramatic, defensive or emotional. Instead, Landolt advised that you let your boss know that you weren’t aware of those issues and that you appreciate being told about them.
Landolt said that you should schedule a follow-up meeting with your boss for a week later, so that you can come up with a plan to solve the issues in your evaluation. It’s better to check in with your boss periodically for feedback throughout the year instead of waiting until your next performance review, according to Landolt.
You’re asked for money in the workplace:
Whether it’s a baby shower, a hockey team fundraiser or a coworker’s charity, the expectation to donate money for different causes at work can arise more often than some of us can afford.
Landolt said it’s important to be consistent in your approach to these types of scenarios. She said you should communicate to your colleagues early on that you have set a budget for the year and that you’re sticking to it.
You could also try picking one charitable cause or organization to devote your finances to and let everyone know that you like to choose one thing to donate to every year. Landolt said that way your colleagues will catch on that you’re focusing on one thing and they will eventually stop asking you to pitch in.