Tag Archives: workplace

Own Up to Your Mistake

Ownup_march2012_webHas anyone ever told you that if you aren’t making mistakes at work you probably aren’t blazing any new trails either? While you shouldn’t throw caution to the wind in the effort of progress, there is a chance that no matter how prepared and organized you try to be you’re going to make a mistake at work. But it doesn’t have to ruin your day or your career. You just need to handle it properly.

Be honest and quick.

Nothing good will come from covering up your mistake, so it’s best to admit the error as soon as possible. And, unless running around screaming about the problem will save lives or dollars, you need to alert your manager and those impacted in a cool, calm, and collected manner. Depending on the timeliness of the error you may be able to schedule a meeting with everyone in a few hours or you may need to circle up in the next 15 minutes. Unless it’s absolutely necessary, try not to interrupt other meetings, it can just create more chaos

It’s important to remember that you need to admit your mistake and provide some explanation as to why it occurred. Clearly explain what happened and providing any additional support, research, or correspondence to clarify the mistake is a good first step in communicating the situation. Questions will arise around your mistake, so remember to answer honestly and, if you don’t know the answer, resist the urge to make something up. It’s better to say you don’t know rather than to lie. Now is not the time to lay blame elsewhere or dwell on elements outside of your control.

Have a solution prepared.

Be ready to move forward with a proposed solution. When you’re focusing on calmly presenting your mistake, take a moment to think through the problem you’ve created and what solutions you can offer. If you have time, check into details like availability times of others you may need to inform after you’ve discussed the problem with your manager, any expenses that may arise from the error, or past protocol if this error has occurred at the company before. Don’t stall gathering information and solutions, but try to be as prepared as possible so that you can have a productive discussion on a solution. Spending a few extra minutes to get answers to the questions you know your boss will ask is better than rushing ahead and having to go back in a second time with the answers.

The first steps you can take to rebuild trust within your workplace after a mistake is handling the situation professionally. As you’d expect, trying to cover up your mistake or redirecting blame will not serve you well. Do you have any examples to share on effectively moving forward after a mistake?

 

By Rachel Rudisill

You Make Me Want to Shout! Calming Down at Work

Cooldown_feb2012_webWork can be stressful at times. Whether it’s annoying coworkers, chaos in the office, or unruly clients and customers, we all have moments when we are tempted to let go of caution and give in to our anger. Starting a new job can bring a number of situations that can make your blood boil.

But, when we make decisions or say words in the heat of the moment, it usually ends up being the wrong choice. Here are some helpful hints to aid anger relief so you can keep a clear head when making decisions and thinking through problems.

Just Breathe

Breathing is a normal function in terms of staying alive, but taking the extra time to stop and take a few extra deep breaths can help calm you down. The more oxygen in your body, the more easily you can release physical tension.

There are several different breathing exercises you can try on your own. Take five minutes to breath from the diaphragm and use some of the breathing techniques that are right for you. Taking that time to breath can help you look at your situation with a level head so you can make a better decision on what to do.

Just Stroll

If things get to the boiling point, take 10 minutes and go for a walk. Besides the health benefits of walking, it also helps blow off steam and releases endorphins in your body.

Just Separate

Sometimes the best thing to do is remove yourself from the situation. If you can escape work for a few minutes, find a peaceful place to get away from whatever is making you angry. Being physically away from the situation can help you take a mental break and fuel better visualizations and guided imagery to help restore your peace of mind.

This can also help you reframe your situation. Many times, being in the middle of the action intensifies the situation more than it really is. Secluding yourself for a few minutes can help you see your situation differently and give you a different perspective.

Just Reflect

When you’re out walking or separating yourself from the situation, it’s important to look at yourself. Go through the situations in your head and see what your initial reactions would be and picture the consequences of those actions. Reflecting on your feelings about whatever is making you angry can help you make a better decision in the long run.

Sometimes two heads are better than one. If you haven’t found any luck calming down on your own, consider talking to one of your managers or a mentor and explain the situation. There’s a good chance they have been in a number of stressful situations where they have wanted to scream. Verbalizing your feelings with trusted individuals can also help you calm down.

When you are angry, you don’t make the best decisions. The things you say can harm your career. No matter the situation, there are always things you can do to calm yourself down before anger takes over rational thought. If you follow our helpful guidelines, you’ll be better able to keep yourself cool no matter how hot your work life gets.

Tackling Costly Celebrations at Work



Workplaceparty2_April2011_web Adding celebrations like birthdays, wedding or baby showers, and other milestones into the mix of regular office life is a balancing act. Celebrating special moments together is an important part of team building.  But, such festivities can sometimes cause stress, distractions, and even a financial burden. With wedding season just around the corner, keeping the following tips in mind will ensure you not only survive celebrating in the office, but truly enjoy yourself during the process.

Don’t make it a competition.
Believe it or not, your work ability will not be judged based on your involvement in planning work parties and giving the best gifts. Although you may receive accolades for a generous donation of time, most likely you won’t be receiving a raise or promotion for your input on your co-worker’s wedding shower. Set realistic boundaries regarding what time and energy you can devote to the planning process. Consider other obligations including work, family, and life. Don’t feel the need to devote more time than necessary, neglecting more important duties, for the perfect company celebration.

Remember, work comes first.
Although these parties are a great way for the office to unwind and escape the daily grind, work tasks still take priority. Never allow parties to come before finishing a project, meeting with a client, or completing necessary duties. Learning to balance work, along with your other responsibilities, will show your boss that you deserve the occasional break!

Have a budget and stick to it.
Occasional splurging is quite understandable, but with all the different festivities at work, spending large amounts consistently is unrealistic on your wallet. Talk with your co-workers and see who is interested in giving a group gift. Consider shopping sale aisles, discount stores, or even making your own presents. The old saying, “it’s the thought that counts,” still holds true.

Company celebrations can be a time of fun and relaxation, or a time of stress and financial strain. Remember to realistically set boundaries regarding your time, work, and money and you could be the life of the party!

Office Party Don’ts You Do Need to Know

The Christmas season is in full swing and office holiday parties are rocking. After a long, stressful year with heavier workloads, you may be planning to release some steam and have a grand-old-time at the office party. Go ahead and have a ball and enjoy time with your co-workers, remember to keep the fun workplace-appropriate. So, here are three important tips you should know before you head to your company’s shindig.

Don’t vent about work. Even though being at a holiday party after traditional work  hours can make you feel more comfortable and free to speak your mind, be sure you leave work at work. Don’t bring ill feelings to the holiday party because doing so could put a damper on the evening for you and your fellow co-workers. And, if a co-worker starts sounding like the office Grinch, try to change the subject to a more positive subject, such as family, friends, or plans for the holidays. Use this time to learn more about what your co-workers enjoy beyond the workplace, and you’ll be sure to leave the party feeling a little jollier.

Keep it professional. Human resource policies are still in effect at after-hour work events, so be cautious about what you say and do. Be on your best behavior. It takes time to build up a good reputation in the workplace, and you don’t want to ruin it in a matter of seconds by doing something inappropriate. To keep regret from following you like the Ghost of Christmas Past, be sure you maintain a professional demeanor at the holiday office party. 

Be aware of the dress attire. Even though a party may be happening at a local restaurant or facility, it’s important to know what’s acceptable and not acceptable to wear for the occasion. It’s always best to err on the side of caution. Since co-workers and probably their guests will be present, keep your dress more conservative and professional, but more casual than everyday office attire. For example, a nice pair of dress slacks or a skirt with a nice dress shirt. But some Christmas parties are more formal. To be sure of what to wear, check with management and your co-workers to determine what is appropriate.

It’s important to attend your holiday work parties, and they are intended to be a time of enjoyment. Network, mingle, laugh, and have fun, but just keep in mind that it’s still a work function, with managers and co-workers present. 

You Texted What?

R u a txtr? Text messaging has become one of the most common ways people communicate. Research conducted by Nielsen Wire, found that more than 2.5 billion texts are sent daily in the U.S. And according to a recent article on MSNBC.com’s Technoblog, 87% of teens and 72% of adults are text messaging.

Today, texting seems to be the communication tool of choice for many because it’s easy to do and quicker than calling someone to have a conversation.  For example, you can send a quick text to tell someone something like C U @ 545 instead of getting caught in a long conversation.

But, texting isn’t just for personal use anymore. It’s being used more and more in the workplace and becoming a common communication tool between managers and employees. Some managers are OK with allowing employees to text to discuss work-related issues like taking a sick day, reporting a family emergency, or dropping a quick line to say they’re running late. But, are there some things that shouldn’t be texted? In the survey conducted by Nielsen Wire, it was also discovered that 11% of college students and recent college graduates think it’s OK to text a manager when resigning from a job.

As technology continues to change and more generations entering the workforce, communication on the job continues to change. As an employee, it’s important for you to know what your manager’s thoughts are and what your company’s policies and preferences outline regarding text messaging on the job.    
 
Does your job already have texting rules in place? Would you or have you ever texted your boss to say you’re sick or that you’re resigning? Share your thoughts with us!

Touchdown with a Bad Boss – Week 3

Tackle-boss-1

Here are the top Bad Boss solutions for week three of our contest! Until September 1, we will be spotlighting three top solutions we've received on how employees handled a tough boss. We will be collecting stories through Friday, Aug. 27, so you still have time to submit your story! E-mail your story to boss@expresspros.com. At the end of the contest, voting will begin to determine which solution is the best. The person who receives the most votes will win the grand prize. The winner could be you!


Stay the Course

Penny started a new job and walked into a field of landmines. Due to her hiring situation, other team members and managers doubted her competence and ability, choosing to judge her before they got a chance to work with her. Her hard work and determination to do her new tasks well began to pay off after a couple of weeks. Slowly she was given the opportunity to expand her role, and her supervisor gave her a new project to work on. Penny stayed on top of the ball throughout the project and made sure to keep the supervisor up-to-date on the advances. She knew she had won over the boss and the team when she was invited to a team lunch toward the end of the project. Penny won this boss and team over by demonstrating her abilities and taking care of business!

Communication Kick-Off
At first, Vince struggled with communicating his job expectations and performance issues with his boss. However, Vince soon discovered that, while neither he nor his boss were good verbal communicators, they could express themselves well through e-mail. So, Vince started e-mailing his boss when he had a problem or issue. His boss was able to clearly see the situation written out and then give a written response in reply. This has cut down on miscommunication and made their communication process more effective and efficient.

Changing Teams
Shari began working at a new company as Sales Manager. She was ready to take her new team on to new championships. However, she met head-on with a manager who had a unique way of managing his staff. While sales members were rewarded for hitting daily sales goals, he ran a tight ship when it came to the work environment. The manager had rules about what items could be displayed on your desk, restroom breaks, and phone calls. Shari chose to handle her role with poise and grace, but after 21-days she decided her professional goals and desires did not match the company’s policies. Shari choose to seek new employment, she also choose to find her new job through Express!

How to Write a Business Proposal

EntryLevelLifeButton_E In the workplace, there may come a day when you need to create a project proposal. Maybe you think your company needs a weekly brainstorming meeting. Maybe you have developed a new filing system. A project proposal is a detailed description of activities targeted at solving a problem – from beginning to end and everything in between. If you need to create a project proposal, start with an outline the five W’s of the project –who, what, when, where, and why – as well as outline the how. Creating a proposal helps explain a project to others, gets buy-in, and helps ensure a project of quality and efficiency. So, keep these tips in mind when you’re creating a project proposal.

Justify your reasoning for the project. You can’t just create a project because you think it will be fun. You need to be able to give reasons and examples of how this project could improve or impact business. Outline what value the project will bring to your company, how the project fits into the overall scheme of what your company does, how it will impact you and your co-workers, and the anticipated outcome.

Create a timeline. After you present a brief overview, break the project down into smaller, more manageable pieces and shows your commitment to the details. Doing so provides organization to your project. You can either break a project down step-by-step or divide it into different phases. It’s also important to assign deadline dates to the project to ensure that the project is created and implemented in a timely manner. The dates that you set should be realistic. Allow enough time for a quality product to be produced, but don’t allow so much time that months or years down the line there is still no end result to show.

Outline financial costs and human resources. It’s also important to estimate how much you think the project will cost. This will include such things as employee time and supplies. Projects can range from needing a very small budget to a large budget, so review the budgets of previous projects completed on a similar level to get a more accurate estimate. It’s also not a bad idea to talk to your manager about what seems realistic for a budget on your project.

Implement a follow-up plan. Once you have all the basics for your project outlined, it’s time to think about how you would measure the results to ensure you’re meeting your goals. Be sure to list out how you would track results and how often you would conduct tracking. The goal of this is to make sure your project achieves the desired results that you hoped for and to determine if you’re addressing the goals.

These are some basics of creating a project proposal. In general, when you take more time in the planning process, the more sound and structured a project will be. Also, doing this communicates to your boss that you believe in your project and want to make it the best it can be. Most bosses would look at this as a sign of leadership, drive, and determination – all good quality’s to have in today’s workforce.