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Showing posts from October, 2018

I'm just not feeling it: when a coworker lacks empathy

A coworker is back to work after a huge personal setback. Everyone on staff offers sympathy, and support. Well, everyone except for the one coworker who seems to have been behind the door when empathy and compassion were handed out.

You ask the returning coworker how they are doing, but the empathy-challenged coworker has only one question for them: So, when will you be done with the invoice? I need it as soon as possible. Wow.

It's Business, Not Personal
We are facing a crisis of compassion in our country that's emanating from the very top, and it is quite scary. Smart leaders would be wise to ponder how the empathy lacking in our national discourse could be trickling into the workplace, because a clear lack of empathy on the part of one coworker risks undermining the entire team's morale, productivity and job tenure.

Few of us want to work in an environment that lacks heart and soul. We are human beings, and we need to know that empathy and compassion exist -- albeit perh…

Welp! Don't help coworkers unless they ask first

How often do you offer to help a coworker who didn't ask for your help? Often? Sometimes? Never? New research reveals that never offering to help might be the best course of action!

Researchers at Michigan State University surveyed 54 full-time employees between the ages of 21 and 60 and collected data on their various interactions with coworkers. They found that employees' self esteem can suffer when their colleagues offer to help.

But that's not all. Our own morale as the helper can suffer when we feel like our coworker didn't appreciate our assistance. Our coworker didn't even say "thank you", and now we wonder why we still work here. Nobody seems to appreciates us!

The Areas of My Unwanted Expertise
That's right: every time you utter "Do you need some help?", your coworker might be hearing: "You are completely incompetent, aren't you?" Ouch.

It might land like that old Billy Swan song that sounds, well, a little bit tone d…

Ugh-Choo! Flu Season Costs Employers Billions in Lost Productivity

It's October, it's cooling down outside, and that means only one thing. No, not football. Flu shots!

Yes, it's time to get our flu shots because the flu season is upon us. In fact, the U.S. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting your flu shot by the end of October.

The 1918 Flu Anniversary
Do you know that this year is the 100-year anniversary of the 1918 flu pandemic that killed 50 million people worldwide? An estimated 675,000 Americans perished in that pandemic.

My parents were born not long after that time, and they would occasionally recount the stories their parents had told them about friends who passed away in the pandemic, and how sick some friends and relatives who survived that flu had been. It was a very scary time.

Yes, thinking about the flu is not a happy way to start the work week, but it's a reminder that the flu can be very dangerous, especially for children, the elderly, and those with certain health conditions such as asthma.…

Survey Reveals How Employees Are Bonding With the Boss

How close are you with your boss at work? From following each other on Snapchat to asking the boss for advice on personal matters, a new survey finds many employees are finding various ways to bond with the boss!

Researchers at Olivet Nazarene University recently surveyed 3,000 employees to find out how they relate to their bosses on a daily basis. How close are today's employee-boss relationships? Let's get a status update on the modern employee-manager relationship, stat!

Call Me!
For starters, 68% of employees have the boss's phone number -- a statistic I find completely unsurprising because we need to contact the boss in an emergency. Frankly, I'm more surprised that 32% of employees said that they do not have the boss's phone number.

But get this: slightly more than one-third of employees (34%) have asked the boss for advice regarding a personal, non-work related issue, while more than one-fourth of bosses (29%) have asked their employees for advice regarding a…

It's World Food Day, So Let's Talk about Hunger at Work

Employers like employees who are hungry for the work. But what if employees are hungry for food because they can't afford to buy enough of it?

Today is World Food Day, which is meant to highlight issues around chronic hunger and food sustainability. World Food Day events are scheduled to take place today in 150 countries.

Roughly one-third of the world's people suffer from some form of malnutrition. Do you know that world hunger has actually increased over the last three years? 820 million people around the world were undernourished last year, and it's getting worse.

Here in the United States, we tend to frame hunger as an educational issue affecting children in school. It's a very valid topic: more than 13 million American children live in "food insecure" homes, according to USDA statistics.

One in six American children simply isn't getting enough to eat at home. Then this child goes off to school, where he or she has a hard time concentrating and has …

One-Third of Employees Think Managers Set Pay Based on Feelings

Here's a Monday kind of question for you: Do you think your manager sets your pay based primarily on skills, or how they feel about you?

Cloud-based compensation software firm Beqom has issued its 2018 Compensation and Culture Report, which, among other things, reveals that one-third of employees think their managers set pay based on how they feel about an employee instead of the employee's performance, skills and experience. Ouch.

Forget having the skills to pay the bills, because modern management is about all the feels! This isn't business, it's personal. So what can managers do about it?

The Way You Make Me Feel
Favoritism at work -- even when it's perceived favoritism -- can have a highly corrosive effect on employee productivity and engagement if they think their pay is based on workplace popularity. Here, watch this video. It has some great tips.

Transparency -- e.g., making everyone's pay or salary level everyone's business -- is another s…

Like a Boss! 80% of U.S. Workers are Happy with Their Managers

October 16 is National Boss's Day, the one day of the year when we're supposed to compliment the boss. Luckily, a new survey finds that saying "good job!" to the boss and actually meaning it might not be so hard to do, after all!

Staffing firm OfficeTeam surveyed more than 2,800 adult employees in 28 major U.S. cities and found the vast majority give their boss a solid "A" for effort. Almost half (49%) think their manager is a good leader. Let's give everyone in management a much-needed round of applause!

However, one in five employees does not feel like clapping. No, they feel like clapping back instead: Nearly one-fourth of employees surveyed (23%) see the boss as a dreaded micromanager, while 16% think the boss is incompetent. Ouch.

Where Managers Are Most Admired
Where are managers most likely to be admired? Indianapolis, Salt Lake City, Chicago and Los Angeles ranked highly in employee satisfaction with management.

However, managers in Bos…

JSYK: Five Signs Your Teammate is an Internet Troll

A combative coworker has one more thing to say on a topic you didn't want to talk about in the first place. By the end of the work day, you feel both frustrated, and mentally exhausted. This coworker is an internet troll come to life on the job.

With less than a month to go before the U.S. midterm elections, politics is on the brain for many people. Yes, even at work. Most of us know better than to talk about it during the work day, though.

But what if you work with someone who just can't keep their political views to themselves? When they aren't trolling anonymously on internet comment boards, they're trying to provoke their teammates into political arguments. Or any argument, really. The topic doesn't matter as long as everyone is debating and becoming visibly upset.

As a society, we're rapidly blurring the line between internet troll and in-the-flesh, in-person human being. Where does one begin, and the other one end? Some people speak as if they're al…

This is MY Job: When Parents Embarrass their Adult Children Online

Have you been following the story about the mom who embarrassed her Navy vet son by tweeting about his military accomplishments and his dating life? Her post went viral, and now he's mortified.

It's time to talk about the parents who go on social media to get all up in their children's professional business!

Instead of allowing their children the time and space to construct their own online narrative, these parents are all over social media talking about their child's job much they don't like it. Their child is tired, overworked and underpaid. If only their meanie of a manager would stop being so awful!

If the previous paragraph hits a little too close to home, then Navy Vet Son is your worst nightmare come true. You can imagine your photo floating around the internet, attached forever to your mother's random Twitter thoughts, and now your friends are texting you at work to let you know that you're trending worldwide.

Oh, man. You've gone vira…

I'm Sorry (Again)! Dealing with Coworkers who Apologize Too Much

A coworker comes up to you and apologizes for a mistake she made...last week. It's the fifth time she's apologized for it, too. Sorry to bring this up, but how should you handle the coworker who won't stop apologizing for something?

We've all worked with this coworker. Elton John said that sorry seems to be the hardest word, but not for this coworker! These are the colleagues in meetings who will preface what they're about to say with phrases such as "This might sound like a stupid idea, but..." or "This is probably a bad idea, but..." or "I don't think this would work, but..."


These are the colleagues who will apologize for not being totally prepared, but will generally proceed to do a good job -- making us wonder if they were yanking our chains by playing the "low expectations" game of undersell and over-deliver. I told them I couldn't do it, and then BAM I delivered!

These are the colleagues who will keep sa…

Come at Me, Bro: Where Have All the Grown Ups Gone?

The Kavanaugh hearings and impending confirmation have us talking about the 1980s again. The parties. The drinking. The bar fights. All we need now is the Stop Making Sense soundtrack, which, of course, is one of the best albums of all time. Except for the track Swamp.

How did that song end up on the album? I don't know, but those songs take me back to a simpler time when grown ups acted like grown ups. Life had a steady bass beat that we could debate to. Now every day means another petty argument among grown adults, and we're not talking about policy issues anymore. Too many of our leaders are calling each other schoolyard names, shouting over each other, and acting incredibly immature for their ages. Come at me bro, indeed.

Personally, I find the rampant immaturity level as depressing as all of the lying. Immaturity is everywhere, from the moms at the bus stop acting like seventh graders to grown adults trolling each other on Twitter to one of our nation's elite asking a…

Shh! When a Coworker Makes Unreasonable Requests for Office Quiet

You're hard at work when a coworker says: "I can hear your breathing over there. Could you stop doing that?" Huh? Let's talk about the controlling coworkers who literally don't want to hear us at work!

Before we get started here, let me say that I won't be writing about the jingly-jangly jewelry wearer or the stentorian spit swisher, which are noises that we can control (read: eliminate) for the most part. Besides, we've covered those bases already.

No, today I'm focusing on the coworker who has pretty much told you to stop breathing, because she can hear it. And could you walk more quietly to the copier while you're at it? Until ambient habitat soundscaping arrives at work, you feel doomed to a standard of quiet that is impossible to attain.

The too-quiet office can contribute to our coworker's controlling quest for total office quiet, as could the open office environment that is packing us in like sardines and forcing us to watch our teammate…