Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Challenging Co-workers Part 2

Last week, we talked about how teamwork and good internal relations improves the work environment and the service you give. I want to touch on the last four types of difficult personalities covered in The Colors of Customer Service Training Kit.

The Accidental Boss
This person isn’t the boss but that doesn’t stop them from acting like one! They like to tell you what you should do and how you should do it. If they can give you work or critique your work they will.
  • Let them know you have a full plate. If they continue, refer them to your boss.

The Tattle-Tale
This person is in constant communication with the boss about who is doing what. They feel a responsibility to report on everyone’s actions.
  • Do not share personal information with this person. Let them know that you already have excellent communication with your boss.

The Fighter
This person thrives on conflict. Everything becomes a battle.
  • Do not give them an emotional response. Remain neutral and concentrate on the facts when speaking with them and not giving your opinion.

The Lounger
This person avoids work at all cost. You usually end up picking up their slack.
  • Set clear expectations and deadlines. Stick to your guns when they start to weasel out of their responsibilities.

Always try to confront these people directly and maturely. If that doesn’t work, start keeping a paper trail, emails and other correspondence that show their behavior. Also keep a journal of the dates and times of any events or behaviors along with details of exactly what happened. This way if you have to approach a boss or Human Resources, you’ll have more than just your word to back you up.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Challenging Co-workers Part 1

Part of giving great customer service is working productively with your co-workers. Teamwork, respect and cooperation go a long way to improving the quality of your day as well as the quality of the service you deliver.

If this was a perfect world, everyone would come to work focused, dedicated and ready to get the job done. However, we don’t live in a perfect world!

In The Colors of Customer Service Training Kit, we discuss ten types of difficult co-workers and how to handle them.

The Gossip
This person has something to say about everything and everyone and most of the time it isn’t positive or constructive.
  • Keep your responses neutral. Do not agree or disagree. “Who knows what really happened?” or “I don’t know what to say about that are good options.

The Complainer
This person is never happy. They don’t see the silver lining, they just gripe about the cloud!
  • Respond with a positive. Find the good in the situation and go with that. Don’t join them!

The Credit Snatcher
This person loves to pass your ideas and hard work off as their own.
  • Without any defensiveness, tactfully acknowledge their contribution as well as your own.

Dramatic Royalty
This person always has something going on. They often overreact and act on assumptions they make.
  • This person will often take advantage of your sympathy. Set boundaries, let them know what you can and can’t do. Don’t be afraid to say no.

Next week, we’ll take a look at the final four kinds of difficult co-workers: The Accidental Boss, The Tattle-Tale, The Fighter and The Lounger.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Danger! Slippery Slope Ahead

You know you love the rush! Careening downward on that roller coaster or flying down the mountainside while skiing. It's truly an incredible and exhilarating feeling. But when you are careening down the path of disastrous thoughts and improbable what-ifs it doesn't feel quite so good. In fact, it's pretty nauseating.

You get called into the boss's office. There were some problems with the report you submitted. Thirty minutes later, after a number suggestions, revisions and criticisms, you leave with your tail between your legs.

"I'm skating on thin ice," you think as you gather your stuff and head home for the day.

"What if I get fired?"

As you pull out of the parking lot and start the drive home, you also start the mental free fall down. By the time you get home, you've lost your job, your house, your spouse and have developed a serious alcohol problem. All because you had a discussion with your boss. Visions of food stamps and homeless shelters dance in your head as you pull into the driveway.

But wait a minute! Is it really that bad? Of course not. It wasn't a great meeting; but you didn't get fired. In fact, you got some valuable information and feedback and you know what to do better next time.

When you find yourself perched at the top of that slope, stop yourself before you start by asking yourself how likely all of that terrible stuff is it to happen. How likely is it that you will be fired? If you are fired, what is the likelihood that you will not be able to find any work at all? What are the chances that you would become homeless or that your spouse would leave you? As you start challenging the assumptions, you will find that the likelihood of all that other stuff occurring decreases.

Another techique involves just asking yourself better questions. Instead of "Why Me?" ask, "What can I do differently next time?" Instead of asking "What if I lose my job?" ask "What can I learn from this?" Focus on the positive and proactive things you can do to change the situation for the better.

Save the slopes for skiing.