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I’m 23 years old and only on my sixth month in the company.  Yet, I now feel bored with my job and disillusioned with corporate life! I can deliver the tasks given me ahead of the others in our team because I’m used to working fast. I don’t get any feedback from our team leader who is always preoccupied with his computer. I don’t want to bother the other team members who seem to be busy doing their work (or are they?).  So, I spend this slack time sending/reading my personal emails or playing computer games.  Team meetings also bore me to death.  Nothing is accomplished by talking which is all that is done during meetings. And I had thought I would do well so that I could become visible and be placed in the talent pool.  I don’t know what my chances are to be in the talent pool.  What should I do?

Mr. Fast Worker

For one so young and only starting in your career, you are already experiencing boredom with your job and disillusionment with corporate life and finding attending meetings boring.  If you allow these negative attitudes to prevail, you are certain to be disillusioned and bored wherever you go.  Boredom and disillusionment are seen in your disinterest, passivity and work disengagement as shown in the use of the office computer and company time for your personal enjoyment, etc. which are sure to slam shut the door to the talent pool that you eagerly seek.  Working fast on the tasks assigned to you will most certainly produce low quality work, a violation of the universal core value of excellence.   Ask yourself: are your tasks accomplished according to the standards of your internal customers, e.g., your team leader and your colleagues who use your outputs for their inputs?  If you don’t have a sure answer to this, find a way of getting feedback from them.  Don’t let your perception that your team leader is preoccupied with computer work stop you from asking him to meet with you and go over your work with you.

 

You have a long way to go in your work/career life.  There are many things to learn on the “long way to the corporate boardroom”.  You will miss out on valuable learnings if you are always in hurry to finish your work so that you can play.  Remember Aesop’s fable on the turtle and the hare.

 

High IQ, technical competence, positive attitudes, good character and positive interpersonal relationships are what will make you visible and make you a valued employee.  Having a good track record in every position given you will be your passport to a successful career.

 

If you care about your employment in the company and you are ambitious to go to the top, you need to make an important “inside-out” change.  “Inside” refers to your paradigms about yourself, about you job, about meetings, about other people, etc.  Your paradigms affect your perceptions and attitudes which, in turn, affect your behaviors.  Changing these “inside” of you will bring about change in your work behaviors which are the ones observed by your team leader and co-team members, and which become the basis of their perception and appraisal of you.

 

Since you sought my advice, let me react to the following negative behaviors that you show that certainly do not create a good impression of you:

1.      Boredom with your job because you are a fast worker and you finish the tasks given to you ahead of the others. This makes you feel superior to your teammates. Because you have time in your hands, you spend it by sending/receiving personal emails and using company time for your personal pleasure.  This is plain and simple stealing time from the company. Check out with your team leader if he is satisfied with your outputs.  Request him for feedback.  Don’t wait for him to initiate a feedback meeting; ask him for it.

2.      Being bored to death attending meetings which to you is your time waster.  Attending meetings is part and parcel of work/business/corporate life.  Again, you have to have a paradigm shift about meetings.  See meetings as productive when you see it as an opportunity to connect with your team members on a personal level and to build friendships that will lead to collaboration and teamwork. Before the meeting, find out the agenda so you are prepared.  See meetings as an opportunity for you to contribute your ideas/opinions, to listen to the ideas/opinions of others, to update yourself on what others in your team are doing, to ask relevant questions, to respond to questions if you know the answers, etc.  If you do these, you will find meetings enjoyable and will look forward to attending and participating in them.  Never use your cell phone while the meeting is going on.  This is rude and shows lack of respect.

 

Here is a tip:  even though you are not assigned to do this, write down the action plans, i.e, what is to be done, by whom and by when.  This is a great way of knowing your team members when you casually make “Kumusta?” to them, so that when you do have time, you can even offer to be of help to them.

 

You do not seek to be included in the talent pool.  This is a consequence of your accomplishments, your leadership potentials, your positive “can do” attitudes, and your ability to get along well and to work with your team leader and colleagues.

 

In the Sunday, January 9, 2011 issue of Working People of The Sunday Inquirer, a young person who considered himself an “eager beaver” asked me for tips on how to become a good employee so that he could retain his job and progress in his career in the good company that employed him.

 

I quoted to him pertinent portions from a chapter on “Get a New Start in Your New Job” from my book Managing Work and Career.  I listed the following and followed it with a brief description of each one:

 

  • Know the duties and responsibilities of your job and do them excellently;
  • Know the required competencies to do these duties and responsibilities and make sure you acquire these competencies;
  •  Know and appreciate your company; its mission, vision and core values and how these values are to be expressed in behaviors, attitudes and performance;
  • Develop and strengthen a good and positive relationships with your team leader and colleagues;
  • Active participation in meeting;
  • Have an attitude of continuous improvement of your outputs and the process you use to produce them;
  • Fast track your development by welcoming multi-tasking to acquire more and varied skills.  After office hours and week-ends, read books and journals on your field of specialization, and on leadership and management.

 

You see, there is so much to learn and to do, there is no time for boredom and no reason for disillusionment.

 

God bless you.

 

 

Josie O. Santamaria

My co-employees and I read with great interest your advice to Mr. Short Fuse on how he could control his temper (Sunday Inquirer, October 3, 2010, Job Market, Working People, “How to Control Temper Outbursts”, p.5).  I wish my boss is like him who regretted his outbursts and wanted to change as it is not only unprofessional but also alienates his employees away from him.  We had planned to send it to our boss but we were so afraid of what she would do to us.  You see, unlike Mr. Short Fuse, our boss is unrepentant and continues to bawl us out for mistakes we commit.  This makes us all the more nervous and wants to avoid her.

I’ve been working under her for only a year now and how I dread our meetings and the times she calls me into her office.  Twice she reprimanded me in front of her visitors.  I cringed in embarrassment but I still managed to smile.  She has never given me praise or recognition for the good work, i.e., when she does not see any error, in the work I’ve done.  I really feel very bad about this.

I’ve approached already the head of HR Department to transfer me to another section but she was unsympathetic and simply told me to adjust to her.  At age 32, I’ll find it difficult to get employment elsewhere.  Besides, I like our company, my salary and the benefits we’re getting.

Please advise me on how I can adjust to her, and not lose my self-respect and preserve my dignity.  I’m about to fall apart.

Ms. About to Fall Apart

 

I can see how hurt you are at your boss’ behaviors: bawling her employees, reprimanding you in front of her visitors, and not praising you for error-free work.  Because of these, you dread your interactions with her; you even want to be transferred to another section.  However, you are not thinking of resigning; you only want advice on how to adjust to your boss and the situation you are in and not feel degraded.

In order to adjust, i.e., to see your situation and your boss in a positive light so that you don’t feel as hurt as you do, I suggest the following:

1.      Change your way of seeing your boss.  According to the Hewitt Research on Best Employers in Asia, published in 2004 by John Wiley and Sons (Asia) Pte Ltd.:  managers who are predominantly left-brain people — accountants, finance, engineers — are often reluctant to give praise even though they may desperately be in need of praise themselves.  Most likely, your boss is not receiving any praise from her own superiors and this is why she doesn’t know how to give it to her employees.  Perhaps if you see her in this light, it could change your perception and your feelings towards her.

2.      Continue to do well in your work.  I suggest you review your position description and see if you are doing everything expected of you, and doing each task according to expected standards of quality and timeliness.  It is only when you exceed standards or when you do a project in an extraordinary way that you would expect to be given recognition.

3.      If you don’t get a deserved recognition, you can be proactive by asking your boss how she found the work you did.  If she says for instance, that it’s “OK”, you can probe by asking “What’s OK about it, Ma’am, so I would know what to repeat or do even better”.  If she still refuses to give you the satisfaction of a deserved recognition, then accept it as part of her style.

4.      See your boss as your #1 Customer whose needs must be met. To satisfy and delight her is your goal. Doing good work the best way you can is a requirement to please your customer.  If she praises you, consider it a bonus.

5.      Work on improving your character by strengthening your intrinsic reinforcement.  When you’ve done extraordinary work or walked an extra mile with success, feel proud of yourself and enhance your sense of achievement.  The “I did it!” feeling can boost your self-worth.  This verse from Phil. 4:11 “Not that I say this because of need, for I have learned, in whatever situation I find myself, to be self-sufficient.” might help you when your need for recognition is not being met.

6.      When your boss bawls you out for mistakes committed, simply apologize.  When she reprimands you in front of others, do not smile.  Your smile will reinforce her aggression.  After apologizing, just keep silent and look at her.

7.      Add a spiritual dimension:  Offer all your work and the efforts you exert, and your relationships with your boss to God who knows all and sees all.  It is getting His approval that is far more important than any human reward.

God bless you.

 

Josie O. Santamaria

MS. ABOUT TO FALL APART

November 5th, 2010 | Posted by josantamaria in Articles - (0 Comments)

I read with great interest your advice to Mr. Short Fuse on how he could control his temper (Job Market, Working People, p.5, “How to Control Temper Outbursts”).  I wish my boss is like him who regretted his outbursts and wants to change as it is not only unprofessional but also alienates his employees away from him.  I actually cut out your article and showed it to my co-employees.  We planned to send it to our boss but we were so afraid of what she would do to us.  You see, unlike Mr. Short Fuse, our boss is unrepentant and continues to bawl us out for mistakes we commit.  This makes us all the more nervous and wants to avoid her.

I’ve been working under her for only a year now and how I dread our meetings and the times she called me into her office.  Twice she reprimanded me in front of her visitors.  I cringed in embarrassment but I still managed to smile.  She has never given me praise or recognition for the good work, i.e., when she does not see any error, for the work I’ve done.  I really feel very bad.

I’ve approached already the head of HR Department to transfer me to another section but she was unsympathetic and simply told me to adjust to her.  At age 32, I’ll find it difficult to get employment elsewhere.  Besides, I like our company, my salary and the benefits we’re getting.

Please advise me on how I can adjust to her and not lose my self-respect and preserve my dignity.  I’m about to fall apart.

Ms. About to Fall Apart

 

I can see how hurt you are at your boss’ behaviors: bawling her employees, reprimanding you in front of her visitors, and not praising you for error-free work.  Because of these, you dread your interactions with her; you even want to be transferred to another section.  However, you are not thinking of resigning; you only want advice on how to adjust to your boss and the situation you are in.

In order to adjust, i.e., to see your situation and you boss in a positive light so that you don’t feel as hurt as you do, I suggest the following:

1.      Change your way of seeing your boss.  According to the Hewitt Research on Best Employees in Asia, published in 2004 by John Wiley and Sons (Asia) Pte Ltd.:  Managers who are predominantly left-brain people — accountants, finance, engineers — are often reluctant to give praise even though they may desperately be in need of praise themselves.  Most likely, she herself is not receiving any praise from her own superiors and this is why she doesn’t know how to give it to her employees.  Perhaps if you see her in this light, it could change your perception and your feelings towards her.

2.      Continue to do well in your work.  I suggest you review your position description and see if you are doing everything expected of you, and each task done according to expected standards or when you do a project in an extraordinary way that you would expect to be given recognition.

3.      If you don’t get a deserved recognition, you can be proactive by asking your boss how she found it.  If she says for instance, that it’s OK, you can probe by asking “What’s OK about it, Ma’am, so I replicate or do even better.  If she still refuses to give you the satisfaction of a deserved recognition, then accept it as part of her coping style.

4.      See your boss as your #1 Customer whose needs must be met. To satisfy and delight her is your goal. Doing good work the best way you can is a requirement to please your customer.  If she praises you, it’s a bonus.

5.      Work on improving your character by strengthening your intrinsic reinforcement.  When you’ve done extraordinary work or walked on extra mile with success, feel proud of yourself and enhance your sense of achievement.  The “I did it!” feeling can boost your self-worth.

6.      When your boss bawls you out for mistakes committed, simply apologize.  When she reprimands you in front of others, do not smile.  Your smile reinforces her aggression.  Just keep silence and look at her.

7.      Add a spiritual dimension:  Offer all your works and the efforts you spend, your relationships with your boss to God who knows all and sees all.  It is getting His approval that is far more important than human reward.

God bless you.

 

Josie O. Santamaria

HOW TO CONTROL TEMPER OUTBURSTS

October 3rd, 2010 | Posted by josantamaria in Articles - (0 Comments)

I am trying to manage my “short fuse”, i.e., my impatience that makes me flare up at some of my subordinates when they make the same mistakes a second or worse, a third time.  When I flare up, I end up shouting at them and pounding my hands on the table in front of them.

I always regret my actions afterwards because not only am I being unprofessional; I also hurt their feelings even if they are wrong.  My negative image in the office as a result of my outbursts has made me a topic of conversation among the rank-and-file and has also damaged my reputation.  This could be the reason why I have not had any career move for the past so many years.  I’m sure no one wants to work under me.  .

Although this happens infrequently, I can see that my subordinates are tense in my presence, are passive during our weekly meetings and come only to my office when I call them.  They don’t ask questions to clarify; they proceed with the task I tell them to do and commit the errors that make me flare up.

Can you please help me handle my temper?  Can I change my reputation so that I am  seen as a good leader worthy of respect?

Mr. Short Fuse

 

I admire you for your desire to manage your temper and for not justifying it, for admitting your need to change, and for seeking help to bring this about.  You are right about the negative consequences of your temper outbursts on yourself and on your subordinates, and on your reputation and on their self-esteem, and on your career movements.  You are right in your observation that your employees are afraid of you which makes them withdraw from and avoid you.  Their fear makes them tense leading to errors that infuriate you.  This becomes a vicious circle.

The change effort I suggest requires a paradigm shift about yourself and about your subordinates.  This is known as the inside-out approach.  It starts with changing your mindsets and perceptions of yourself and of your subordinates.  Changing your mindsets and perceptions will change your feelings/emotions (impatience, anger, rage) when errors are committed; in turn this will change your behaviors towards your employees.  The only way you can change your image and your reputation is for you to change your behaviors so that you will eventually change the way they perceive you.  This may be a slow process as your subordinates have already formed mindsets about you based on their interactions with you.

The inside approach requires the following steps:

First, analyze your aggressive behaviors and what causes them.  Write down the behaviors of your subordinate that cause you to flare up, what thoughts you have about a subordinate when he commits errors.  These are the stimuli or antecedents to your aggressive behaviors.  Opposite each one write down how you react, i.e., the words you say and how you say it.  Example:  you spot an error in your subordinate’s report.  What thoughts do you have of your subordinate?  Such negative thought as: “He is so stupid!”, “Not again!”, “When will you ever learn?” and the like, will make you tense and angry.  Before you know it, you are calling him in a loud/angry voice and shouting perhaps, “Why this… again?’

Second, take deep breathes to release your tension, ask God to help you ease your tension and say to yourself “STOP!”.  As you do these, change the way you think about yourself and about your subordinate.  Put in your mind positive thoughts about yourself, e.g., “It is my role to coach him so that he can improve”; “I am blessed to have more knowledge, better skills and more experience”; “I am expected to share my knowledge and experience with my subordinate”; “It is my duty as his supervisor to develop him so that he can do his task correctly”; “My shouting at him will only make him afraid of me and nervous when I call him”; “I don’t improve him by shouting at him”, etc.

See yourself as a steward (“katiwala”) of your company’s important human assets which are your employees, and you have the responsibility to develop them and enhance their knowledge and skills.  See your subordinate as your customer; he has a need for knowledge which you must satisfy.  He is one of the reasons why your position exists.

Third, analyze the cause of your subordinate’s mistakes.  Is it because he didn’t understand you?  Why did he not understand you?  Was it a matter of communication?  How did you communicate with him?  Did your tone of voice and facial expression make him tense and nervous? Was he afraid to ask you questions?

If you see yourself as a steward and your employee as the company’s asset, and as your customer, you will not be impatient, rude, angry and furious.  When your employee commits an error, you will see the mistake as an opportunity for you to perform your role as a coach, and to develop a positive relationship with him.  Coaching him shows that you care enough that he learns and improves.

Every morning, set as a goal that you will seize an opportunity to coach one of your employees, and that you will smile and be relaxed in your interactions with each one during the day.  Visualize positive interactions with your employees.  Take lunch with them in the pantry and talk about non-work topics.  Start pleasant conversations by asking them about their families and listening to them with interest as they share.  Share with them about your own family, too.  There will be initial discomfort and awkwardness on both your part and theirs initially, but as you keep at it, these will minimize.

Display positive behaviors when you interact with your employees.  Examples of positive behaviors are:  smiling when you talk to your subordinate; looking at your subordinate eye-to-eye when you talk to him or when he talks to you; not using your cellphone when you are talking to or if your subordinate is talking to you; saying “thank you” with a smile when your subordinate submits something to you; greeting your subordinate with a smile when you arrive in the morning; saying “goodbye/good night” with a smile when they or you leave the office.  When your subordinate submits a report, give positive feedback on what is right about it.  Then later on point out areas to improve or change.  In correcting mistakes, ask the employee first what he thought of what he did and what can he do about it.  Build on his correct responses.  Then show him how to do.  Take care though about the words you use and how you say them.  You can conduct coaching in an angry way and you get a fear and nervous reaction.  Your non-verbal, e.g., facial expression, body language, gestures (such as pounding your hands in the table) could be aggressive.

Do not say “It’s hard to do these things”, “I can’t do it”, etc.  These are negative thoughts which you must remove and substitute with “I can do it.  With the grace of God, I can do it.”  God wants you to be kind, patient, understanding and compassionate especially to the least.  Your talented employees don’t need you.  Those who may be slow now may have potentials that require your patience to bring out, to develop and nurture.

Fourth, reward yourself with a pat on your back when you are able to coach a subordinate or behave in a positive way as suggested above.  Rewarding yourself will motivate you to repeat the same behaviors.  Repetition of positive behaviors will make them habits that will modify your character.

If you backslide, don’t fret.  If you notice yourself behaving negatively, stop immediately.  Then do the positive behavior.  For example if you notice yourself becoming tense and angry and your voice becoming louder, stop immediately.  Take a deep breath, then pray “Lord, help me please!”, then lower your voice and start the positive behavior.  Never mind if your subordinate sees you “changing gears” when you do this.  It shows to them that you are exerting efforts to change.

Above all, ask God for the grace to develop and practice positive behaviors each day.  If you are consistent in doing these positive actions everyday, eventually their negative image of you will change.  To fast track the change in perception, I suggest you meet all your subordinates and disclose to them your desire to change your behaviors.  Admit to them that you are taking responsibility for your past behaviors of aggression; that you are not blaming their mistakes for your show of temper.  Apologize to them for hurting them in the past, and that you will be exerting efforts to manage your disappointment at mistakes committed.  See what happens and how they will respond.

You may want to visit my website at www.careersystems.com.ph and look up my article in the Sunday Inquirer on December 28, 2008 to January 3, 2009 entitled “How can I change my ways” in reply to a reader with a similar concern as yours.

God bless you.

 

Josie O. Santamaria

HOW TO CONTROL TEMPER OUTBURSTS

September 27th, 2010 | Posted by josantamaria in Articles - (0 Comments)

I am trying to manage my “short fuse”, i.e., my impatience that makes me flare up at some of my subordinates when they make the same mistakes a second or worse, a third time.  When I flare up, I end up shouting at them and pounding my hands on the table in front of them.

 

I always regret my actions afterwards because not only am I being unprofessional; I also hurt their feelings even if they are wrong.  My negative image in the office as a result of my outbursts has made me a topic of conversation among the rank-and-file and has also damaged my reputation.  This could be the reason why I have not had any career move for the past so many years.  I’m sure no one wants to work under me.  .

 

Although this happens infrequently, I can see that my subordinates are tense in my presence, are passive during our weekly meetings and come only to my office when I call them.  They don’t ask questions to clarify; they proceed with the task I tell them to do and commit the errors that make me flare up.

 

Can you please help me handle my temper?  Can I change my reputation so that I am  seen as a good leader worthy of respect?

Mr. Short Fuse

 

 

 

I admire you for your desire to manage your temper and for not justifying it, for admitting your need to change, and for seeking help to bring this about.  You are right about the negative consequences of your temper outbursts on yourself and on your subordinates, and on your reputation and on their self-esteem, and on your career movements.  You are right in your observation that your employees are afraid of you which makes them withdraw from and avoid you.  Their fear makes them tense leading to errors that infuriate you.  This becomes a vicious circle.

 

The change effort I suggest requires a paradigm shift about yourself and about your subordinates.  This is known as the inside-out approach.  It starts with changing your mindsets and perceptions of yourself and of your subordinates.  Changing your mindsets and perceptions will change your feelings/emotions (impatience, anger, rage) when errors are committed; in turn this will change your behaviors towards your employees.  The only way you can change your image and your reputation is for you to change your behaviors so that you will eventually change the way they perceive you.  This may be a slow process as your subordinates have already formed mindsets about you based on their interactions with you.

 

The inside approach requires the following steps:

 

First, analyze your aggressive behaviors and what causes them.  Write down the behaviors of your subordinate that cause you to flare up, what thoughts you have about a subordinate when he commits errors.  These are the stimuli or antecedents to your aggressive behaviors.  Opposite each one write down how you react, i.e., the words you say and how you say it.  Example:  you spot an error in your subordinate’s report.  What thoughts do you have of your subordinate?  Such negative thought as: “He is so stupid!”, “Not again!”, “When will you ever learn?” and the like, will make you tense and angry.  Before you know it, you are calling him in a loud/angry voice and shouting perhaps, “Why this… again?’

Second, take deep breathes to release your tension, ask God to help you ease your tension and say to yourself “STOP!”.  As you do these, change the way you think about yourself and about your subordinate.  Put in your mind positive thoughts about yourself, e.g., “It is my role to coach him so that he can improve”; “I am blessed to have more knowledge, better skills and more experience”; “I am expected to share my knowledge and experience with my subordinate”; “It is my duty as his supervisor to develop him so that he can do his task correctly”; “My shouting at him will only make him afraid of me and nervous when I call him”; “I don’t improve him by shouting at him”, etc.

 

See yourself as a steward (“katiwala”) of your company’s important human assets which are your employees, and you have the responsibility to develop them and enhance their knowledge and skills.  See your subordinate as your customer; he has a need for knowledge which you must satisfy.  He is one of the reasons why your position exists.

 

Third, analyze the cause of your subordinate’s mistakes.  Is it because he didn’t understand you?  Why did he not understand you?  Was it a matter of communication?  How did you communicate with him?  Did your tone of voice and facial expression make him tense and nervous? Was he afraid to ask you questions?

 

If you see yourself as a steward and your employee as the company’s asset, and as your customer, you will not be impatient, rude, angry and furious.  When your employee commits an error, you will see the mistake as an opportunity for you to perform your role as a coach, and to develop a positive relationship with him.  Coaching him shows that you care enough that he learns and improves.

 

Every morning, set as a goal that you will seize an opportunity to coach one of your employees, and that you will smile and be relaxed in your interactions with each one during the day.  Visualize positive interactions with your employees.  Take lunch with them in the pantry and talk about non-work topics.  Start pleasant conversations by asking them about their families and listening to them with interest as they share.  Share with them about your own family, too.  There will be initial discomfort and awkwardness on both your part and theirs initially, but as you keep at it, these will minimize.

 

Display positive behaviors when you interact with your employees.  Examples of positive behaviors are:  smiling when you talk to your subordinate; looking at your subordinate eye-to-eye when you talk to him or when he talks to you; not using your cellphone when you are talking to or if your subordinate is talking to you; saying “thank you” with a smile when your subordinate submits something to you; greeting your subordinate with a smile when you arrive in the morning; saying “goodbye/good night” with a smile when they or you leave the office.  When your subordinate submits a report, give positive feedback on what is right about it.  Then later on point out areas to improve or change.  In correcting mistakes, ask the employee first what he thought of what he did and what can he do about it.  Build on his correct responses.  Then show him how to do.  Take care though about the words you use and how you say them.  You can conduct coaching in an angry way and you get a fear and nervous reaction.  Your non-verbal, e.g., facial expression, body language, gestures (such as pounding your hands in the table) could be aggressive.

 

Do not say “It’s hard to do these things”, “I can’t do it”, etc.  These are negative thoughts which you must remove and substitute with “I can do it.  With the grace of God, I can do it.”  God wants you to be kind, patient, understanding and compassionate especially to the least.  Your talented employees don’t need you.  Those who may be slow now may have potentials that require your patience to bring out, to develop and nurture.

 

Fourth, reward yourself with a pat on your back when you are able to coach a subordinate or behave in a positive way as suggested above.  Rewarding yourself will motivate you to repeat the same behaviors.  Repetition of positive behaviors will make them habits that will modify your character.

 

If you backslide, don’t fret.  If you notice yourself behaving negatively, stop immediately.  Then do the positive behavior.  For example if you notice yourself becoming tense and angry and your voice becoming louder, stop immediately.  Take a deep breath, then pray “Lord, help me please!”, then lower your voice and start the positive behavior.  Never mind if your subordinate sees you “changing gears” when you do this.  It shows to them that you are exerting efforts to change.

 

Above all, ask God for the grace to develop and practice positive behaviors each day.  If you are consistent in doing these positive actions everyday, eventually their negative image of you will change.  To fast track the change in perception, I suggest you meet all your subordinates and disclose to them your desire to change your behaviors.  Admit to them that you are taking responsibility for your past behaviors of aggression; that you are not blaming their mistakes for your show of temper.  Apologize to them for hurting them in the past, and that you will be exerting efforts to manage your disappointment at mistakes committed.  See what happens and how they will respond.

 

You may want to visit my website at www.careersystems.com.ph and look up my article in the Sunday Inquirer on December 28, 2008 to January 3, 2009 entitled “How can I change my ways” in reply to a reader with a similar concern as yours.

 

God bless you.

 

Josie O. Santamaria

Mr. Team Player

September 5th, 2010 | Posted by josantamaria in Articles - (0 Comments)

I like my job and my company.  The only thing I dislike is a fellow team member (there are four of us reporting to our section supervisor).  This Smart Aleck and Know-It-All thinks he is superior to the rest of us because he graduated from a so-called exclusive school.  Yet, he passes on his sloppy and often incomplete work to me which I have difficulty “deciphering” and it frustrates me when he reacts to my questions for clarification with a “Why can’t you understand it?” and leaves me at that.  He doesn’t take his phone when it rings and since I sit next to him I end up taking his phone.  He answers the phone only when the boss is around.

Yes, when the boss is around he also talks to me politely.  During our meetings he is always in agreement with the boss but behind the latter’s back, he makes critical remarks of decisions made.  Our boss never sees this guy’s negative behaviors so she thinks Smart Aleck is so smart.  Do I sound petty?  What can I do?

Mr. Team Player

You did not describe what moves you have made to give Smart Aleck (as you refer to him) feedback about how he is affecting your productivity, i.e., the time you spend trying to understand his work and completing it, and answering his phone calls.  When you don’t give him feedback about how his behaviors are negatively affecting you, he gets the impression that he is OK and he has your approval to continue behaving the way he does.

Your concerns about his behaviors are not petty.  You should address them sooner because they are affecting your productivity and making you stressed out.

If you have not given him feedback, it’s about time you do.  Before you start a work day, go and face him, and with eye-to-eye contact, state calmly the following message which describes his behaviors and how they affect you.

(His nickname), I want to take up with you two things that are important to me and to my productivity.  First, I almost always have to ask you to clarify some things in the work you give me and there are times when you gave me incomplete work that I have to ask you for additional data.  When I do this, you don’t answer my question.  I get so frustrated with this behavior because my work depends on the work you give to me.  I end up spending time trying to decipher and understand what you mean…. (Pause).  Secondly, we are expected to answer the phone by its second ringing.  When you don’t, I am forced to answer it and this disrupts my work.”

Have a positive expectation that he will see your side and act appropriately.  When he gives you complete and understandable work, thank him for it.  If he doesn’t improve his work, you can again repeat what you have told him, this time telling him that you will have no recourse but to talk to your supervisor about your problems with him and his work.

When you do get to this point because Smart Aleck still ignores your concerns, you can approach your supervisor, again describing your co-employee’s behaviors and how they affect you.

When he gives you sloppy and incomplete work, return it to him for correction and completion.  Document your request with date and time and write “For appropriate action on or before ” and have a copy of it.

Was it the late Mrs. Eleanore Roosevelt who said “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”?  Do not be stymied by the school he graduated from.  The good performance of a school’s graduates is what gives prestige to a school.

God bless you.

 

Josie O. Santamaria

I read with great interest your advice to Mr. Confused in your column on Sunday, May 9, 2010 page M2 encouraging him to build a positive relationship with his department manager despite the latter’s actions and reactions against him.  The reason for my interest in reading your advice is because I’m in the same predicament as Mr. Confused.  My supervisor (I’m just a rank-and-file) ignores me.  Even during meetings when I would raise my hand to express my opinion or idea, he would not even call me at all.  This has caused me to be embarrassed.  I don’t participate anymore in our meetings.  I just do my work the best way I can and just leave him alone.

Shouldn’t a supervisor be the one to develop a good relationship with his subordinates so that they will be motivated and productive?  It’s unfair that we subordinates should be the one to “dance to the music” (to quote you) just because he is the boss.  I’m also confused about the role of a boss.

Mr. Sigh

 

Try to reflect on what you have done to make your boss ignore you, and not call you to express your opinion/idea during meetings.  If you can’t recall what you’ve done to get these reactions, try asking your co-employees what their observations of you were so you can become aware of your behaviors.  Do they see your boss the same way you do?  Do they get the same treatment as you?  Perhaps hearing from them will modify your perception of your boss.

If you always perceive your boss the way you do, chances are you will always see him doing it.  We see what we expect to see.  When you always see him in a negative light, you will tend to avoid him, which is what you are now doing, and to be critical of him.

Yes, a boss should do everything to have strong positive relationship with each of his/her subordinates so that he/she can form a strong team who work together for greater productivity  to meet team goals and thereby contribute to organizational productivity.  Sadly, this does not always happen because of the following reasons:  (1) the boss’ lack of training in management and leadership; (2) the boss has a low Emotional Quotient (EQ) required for successful leadership.  Many bosses were promoted based on their IQ and technical skills.  They tend to be task-oriented rather than to be both people- and task-oriented.  The most important role of the boss is to develop each of his subordinates thru coaching and giving feedback in order to make them successful and productive and to build a strong team.

As I advised Mr. Confused, you have to accept you boss as he is and try your best to improve your relationship with him.  You can not choose to ignore your boss the way you are doing now.  He can also choose to ignore you and you are the loser.  You can not afford to wait for him to initiate positive interactions because you may have to wait forever.

Instead of being reactive, show proactivity by doing the following:

1.      Change your perception of him.  See his good traits and his positive behaviors even though these do not impact on you directly.  Example:  punctuality for work, conducting meetings efficiently, good communication skills, etc.  Find a reason to like and admire him.

2.      Ask him for feedback on your work so you can further improve.

3.      Ask him what he expects of you, what his priorities are and his timelines.

4.      Come to the meetings that he calls on time and being prepared.  Do not use your cell phone during the meeting even if the others do.  Be attentive during meetings.

5.      Look for opportunities to be of help to your boss.

6.      When you are done with the tasks required by your position, go to him for additional work he may want to give you.

7.      Don’t use the internet for personal use.  Office time is company time; therefore, you are paid to work.

8.      Build up your boss.  Never say anything critical about him to any of your co-employees.  Negative talk travels fast.

9.      Recognize his humanity.  Acknowledge that he has weaknesses just like you.  Compensate for his weak points but don’t make it obvious to him and never tell others about them.  Be low key.

10.  If you have “great ideas”, sell them to your boss first.  You may be tempted to make suggestions perhaps during meetings to show your boss and your co-employees how smart you are.  Unfortunately this is not the right way to get the admiration of your boss.

11.  Show respect for your boss at all times.  Be careful when you try to propose changes or innovations in your work or section.  Consider any or all of the following:  first, you probably don’t know what you’re talking about; second, if the problem and its solution look so obvious yet no one has taken action, perhaps there’s a deeper level you don’t know; third, nobody likes a know-it-all; and, fourth, you’re making your boss look inept.  Before you push your idea, get your boss’ reaction.  If he agrees with it, get him to champion your idea, and make it his, not yours.

12.  Find out his “soft” spot (i.e., what he likes) and his “sore” spots (what irritates him).  Observe what pleases or displeases him.  What he approves or disapproves and his work habits.  Avoid doing those things that displease him and of which he disapproves.

When you do these, you are also enhancing your own EQ and developing your interpersonal and communication skills, strengthening your character and developing your personality.   All these are vital for success in building strong positive relationships with people and in improving your chances for career advancement.  Your EQ is enhanced when you develop greater self-awareness of your behaviors and how they affect other people; enhance your sensitivity to other people’s needs and values, and greater motivation to manage your own behaviors.

Why it is important for you to initiate a good relationship with your boss so that you can get along with him and be productive by his standards?  Whether you like it or not, your boss has power over you.

1.      He is the one giving you job assignments.  These assignments can be opportunities for you to grow in knowledge and skills, to experience pride in your work and joy in your accomplishment.  These job assignments can also be opportunities for you to gain visibility in your organization

2.      He is the one who appraises and evaluates your performance on these tasks in terms of quality, quantity, and timeliness.  He is the one who rates you and his ratings appear in your performance appraisal and become the basis for incentives and for your career moves.

3.      He can give you challenging assignments that bring out your potentials.  Or he can merely give you routine tasks that can bore or frustrate you.

4.      He has power to approve or disapprove your requests for data, equipment, materials and training to enable you to do your work well and better.

5.      He decides if you are “doing the right things and doing things right”.  He decides what is “urgent” and “important”.  If you do work your boss doesn’t need, value or care about, even if you do it brilliantly (according to your standards), it doesn’t count as “good work”.

The above are things we don’t learn in school; we learn them only from the school of hard knocks which can be painful and frustrating.  Learning is life-long; it never ends.

Your boss is your #1 Customer.  A customer is someone whose needs you must satisfy according to his standards.  Your work contributes to his goal.  Your success and professional growth should benefit your boss.  You can succeed if and when you help your boss succeed.  Dr. Andrew Du Brie, a management author, has written thus:  “When you are caught up in the pressures of pursuing your own ambitions, it is easy to forget the primary reason you were hired:  your prospective boss thought you could help accomplish the department’s objectives [and] contribute directly or indirectly to his/her success.”

May God bless you with an open mind and heart so that you will know what to do to bring the needed change in your attitudes, values and behaviors.

 

Josie O. Santamaria

MR. SIGH

May 24th, 2010 | Posted by josantamaria in Articles - (0 Comments)

I read with great interest your advice to Mr. Confused in your column on Sunday, May 9, 2010 page M2 encouraging him to build a positive relationship with his department manager despite the latter’s actions and reactions against him.  The reason for my interest in reading your advice is because I’m in the same predicament as Mr. Confused.  My supervisor (I’m just a rank-and-file) ignores me.  Even during meetings when I would raise my hand to express my opinion or idea, he would not even call me at all.  This has caused me to be embarrassed.  I don’t participate anymore in our meetings.  I just do my work the best way I can and just leave him alone.

 

Shouldn’t a supervisor be the one to develop a good relationship with his subordinates so that they will be motivated and productive?  It’s unfair that we subordinates should be the one to “dance to the music” (to quote you) just because he is the boss.  I’m also confused about the role of a boss.

Mr. Sigh

 

 

Try to reflect on what you have done to make your boss ignore you, and not call you to express your opinion/idea during meetings.  If you can’t recall what you’ve done to get these reactions, try asking your co-employees what their observations of you were so you can become aware of your behaviors.  Do they see your boss the same way you do?  Do they get the same treatment as you?  Perhaps hearing from them will modify your perception of your boss.

 

If you always perceive your boss the way you do, chances are you will always see him doing it.  We see what we expect to see.  When you always see him in a negative light, you will tend to avoid him, which is what you are now doing, and to be critical of him.

 

Yes, a boss should do everything to have strong positive relationship with each of his/her subordinates so that he/she can form a strong team who work together for greater productivity  to meet team goals and thereby contribute to organizational productivity.  Sadly, this does not always happen because of the following reasons:  (1) the boss’ lack of training in management and leadership; (2) the boss has a low Emotional Quotient (EQ) required for successful leadership.  Many bosses were promoted based on their IQ and technical skills.  They tend to be task-oriented rather than to be both people- and task-oriented.  The most important role of the boss is to develop each of his subordinates thru coaching and giving feedback in order to make them successful and productive and to build a strong team.

 

As I advised Mr. Confused, you have to accept you boss as he is and try your best to improve your relationship with him.  You can not choose to ignore your boss the way you are doing now.  He can also choose to ignore you and you are the loser.  You can not afford to wait for him to initiate positive interactions because you may have to wait forever.

 

Instead of being reactive, show proactivity by doing the following:

 

1.      Change your perception of him.  See his good traits and his positive behaviors even though these do not impact on you directly.  Example:  punctuality for work, conducting meetings efficiently, good communication skills, etc.  Find a reason to like and admire him.

2.      Ask him for feedback on your work so you can further improve.

3.      Ask him what he expects of you, what his priorities are and his timelines.

4.      Come to the meetings that he calls on time and being prepared.  Do not use your cell phone during the meeting even if the others do.  Be attentive during meetings.

5.      Look for opportunities to be of help to your boss.

6.      When you are done with the tasks required by your position, go to him for additional work he may want to give you.

7.      Don’t use the internet for personal use.  Office time is company time; therefore, you are paid to work.

8.      Build up your boss.  Never say anything critical about him to any of your co-employees.  Negative talk travels fast.

9.      Recognize his humanity.  Acknowledge that he has weaknesses just like you.  Compensate for his weak points but don’t make it obvious to him and never tell others about them.  Be low key.

10.  If you have “great ideas”, sell them to your boss first.  You may be tempted to make suggestions perhaps during meetings to show your boss and your co-employees how smart you are.  Unfortunately this is not the right way to get the admiration of your boss.

11.  Show respect for your boss at all times.  Be careful when you try to propose changes or innovations in your work or section.  Consider any or all of the following:  first, you probably don’t know what you’re talking about; second, if the problem and its solution look so obvious yet no one has taken action, perhaps there’s a deeper level you don’t know; third, nobody likes a know-it-all; and, fourth, you’re making your boss look inept.  Before you push your idea, get your boss’ reaction.  If he agrees with it, get him to champion your idea, and make it his, not yours.

12.  Find out his “soft” spot (i.e., what he likes) and his “sore” spots (what irritates him).  Observe what pleases or displeases him.  What he approves or disapproves and his work habits.  Avoid doing those things that displease him and of which he disapproves.

 

When you do these, you are also enhancing your own EQ and developing your interpersonal and communication skills, strengthening your character and developing your personality.   All these are vital for success in building strong positive relationships with people and in improving your chances for career advancement.  Your EQ is enhanced when you develop greater self-awareness of your behaviors and how they affect other people; enhance your sensitivity to other people’s needs and values, and greater motivation to manage your own behaviors.

 

Why it is important for you to initiate a good relationship with your boss so that you can get along with him and be productive by his standards?  Whether you like it or not, your boss has power over you.

 

1.      He is the one giving you job assignments.  These assignments can be opportunities for you to grow in knowledge and skills, to experience pride in your work and joy in your accomplishment.  These job assignments can also be opportunities for you to gain visibility in your organization

2.      He is the one who appraises and evaluates your performance on these tasks in terms of quality, quantity, and timeliness.  He is the one who rates you and his ratings appear in your performance appraisal and become the basis for incentives and for your career moves.

3.      He can give you challenging assignments that bring out your potentials.  Or he can merely give you routine tasks that can bore or frustrate you.

4.      He has power to approve or disapprove your requests for data, equipment, materials and training to enable you to do your work well and better.

5.      He decides if you are “doing the right things and doing things right”.  He decides what is “urgent” and “important”.  If you do work your boss doesn’t need, value or care about, even if you do it brilliantly (according to your standards), it doesn’t count as “good work”.

 

The above are things we don’t learn in school; we learn them only from the school of hard knocks which can be painful and frustrating.  Learning is life-long; it never ends.

 

Your boss is your #1 Customer.  A customer is someone whose needs you must satisfy according to his standards.  Your work contributes to his goal.  Your success and professional growth should benefit your boss.  You can succeed if and when you help your boss succeed.  Dr. Andrew Du Brie, a management author, has written thus:  “When you are caught up in the pressures of pursuing your own ambitions, it is easy to forget the primary reason you were hired:  your prospective boss thought you could help accomplish the department’s objectives [and] contribute directly or indirectly to his/her success.”

 

May God bless you with an open mind and heart so that you will know what to do to bring the needed change in your attitudes, values and behaviors.

 

Josie O. Santamaria

I am 29 years old and have been with our company for 5 years now.  I can say that my company is an ideal one.  My only problem is my boss.  I have been a supervisor for less than a year and have discovered that what my three co-supervisors including my former boss, have told me about our boss, who is our department manager, are all true.  She is an old maid in her mid-30s.  She is hardworking and very results-oriented and keeps long hours.  I was also told by my former boss that she was the one who promoted me from my former technical position.  She is unapproachable; her facial expression and demeanor are such that one would hesitate to approach her.  She is always at a meeting or in front of her computer.  She wants everything to be approved by her and to pass to and through her.  She even wants my four subordinates to go directly to her and she goes directly to any of them for inquiries, information or questions even in my presence.  I’m confused about my role. I want to talk to her but feel discouraged to do so because of her actions and actuations.  I don’t want to seek a transfer to another department because I will surely start from the bottom again; neither do I want to resign because of her.  But I don’t know what to do.  Please advise me.

Mr. Confused

 

You mentioned three positive things about your boss, e.g., she saw your strengths and potentials for leadership and had you promoted; she is hard working and results-oriented.  The rest of your descriptions of her are negative; additionally you perceive her as your “only problem”.

It is important that you take positive steps to meet with her.  Since you are reporting directly to her and you impact on each other’s work, having a positive relationship with her will be beneficial to you, in both your work and in your career.  To do this, it is important for you to set aside your negative thoughts of her and put in your mind the three positive things about her.  These negative thoughts lead to your negative perception and feelings affecting your behaviors towards her.  As for your hurt feelings when she goes directly to your staff and wanting your staff to go directly to her, remember that she may have her own reasons.  Does she get better, quicker or accurate information when she does this?  This is a subject for self-confrontation, not self-defense.  In self-confrontation you ask yourself honestly:  Am I the cause of her going directly to my staff?  What is the quality of my work?  Am I meeting deadlines?

Request her for an appointment for a meeting and set a goal in your mind for such a meeting, i.e., to establish lines of communication.  If she asks you “What for?” you can simply say, “I’d like to consult you, Ma’am, on some important matters about my work.”  And say this respectfully.

Be prepared beforehand with what you will tell and ask her.  Review your position description, your responsibilities and authority.  List down what you want her to clarify.

At the start of your talk make sure you have a happy countenance by thinking of her positively and perceiving her as an asset, not a problem.   Start by thanking her for promoting you to supervisor and that you want to do your best to live up to her expectations.  This is why you want to clarify certain matters.

Ask her for feedback on how she finds your performance.  Then clarify with her each item in your list that you want to take up.  Ask her where she wants you to improve some more.  Take down notes.  Then do what she wants you to do.

If after you’ve done the above, she still behaves the way she does, you just have to “dance with the music”, as the cliché goes.  You can not change her habits.  You can not change her management style.  That is the culture she wants in her department.  You just have to take her as she is and make the adjustments yourself since you write that your company is an “ideal one” and that you don’t want to resign.

Pray to God to transform her and to give you the grace to change yourself.  God bless you.

 

 

Josie O. Santamaria

MR. CONFUSED

April 28th, 2010 | Posted by josantamaria in Articles - (0 Comments)

I am 29 years old and have been with our company for 5 years now.  I can say that my company is an ideal one.  My only problem is my boss.  I have been a supervisor for less than a year and have discovered that what my three co-supervisors including my former boss, have told me about our boss, who is our department manager, are all true.  She is an old maid in her mid-30s.  She is hardworking and very results-oriented and keeps long hours.  I was also told by my former boss that she was the one who promoted me from my former technical position.  She is unapproachable; her facial expression and demeanor are such that one would hesitate to approach her.  She is always at a meeting or in front of her computer.  She wants everything to be approved by her and to pass to and through her.  She even wants my four subordinates to go directly to her and she goes directly to any of them for inquiries, information or questions even in my presence.  I’m confused about my role. I want to talk to her but feel discouraged to do so because of her actions and actuations.  I don’t want to seek a transfer to another department because I will surely start from the bottom again; neither do I want to resign because of her.  But I don’t know what to do.  Please advise me.

Mr. Confused

 

 

You mentioned three positive things about your boss, e.g., she saw your strengths and potentials for leadership and had you promoted; she is hard working and results-oriented.  The rest of your descriptions of her are negative; additionally you perceive her as your “only problem”.

 

It is important that you take positive steps to meet with her.  Since you are reporting directly to her and you impact on each other’s work, having a positive relationship with her will be beneficial to you, in both your work and in your career.  To do this, it is important for you to set aside your negative thoughts of her and put in your mind the three positive things about her.  These negative thoughts lead to your negative perception and feelings affecting your behaviors towards her.  As for your hurt feelings when she goes directly to your staff and wanting your staff to go directly to her, remember that she may have her own reasons.  Does she get better, quicker or accurate information when she does this?  This is a subject for self-confrontation, not self-defense.  In self-confrontation you ask yourself honestly:  Am I the cause of her going directly to my staff?  What is the quality of my work?  Am I meeting deadlines?

 

Request her for an appointment for a meeting and set a goal in your mind for such a meeting, i.e., to establish lines of communication.  If she asks you “What for?” you can simply say, “I’d like to consult you, Ma’am, on some important matters about my work.”  And say this respectfully.

 

Be prepared beforehand with what you will tell and ask her.  Review your position description, your responsibilities and authority.  List down what you want her to clarify.

 

At the start of your talk make sure you have a happy countenance by thinking of her positively and perceiving her as an asset, not a problem.   Start by thanking her for promoting you to supervisor and that you want to do your best to live up to her expectations.  This is why you want to clarify certain matters.

 

Ask her for feedback on how she finds your performance.  Then clarify with her each item in your list that you want to take up.  Ask her where she wants you to improve some more.  Take down notes.  Then do what she wants you to do.

If after you’ve done the above, she still behaves the way she does, you just have to “dance with the music”, as the cliché goes.  You can not change her habits.  You can not change her management style.  That is the culture she wants in her department.  You just have to take her as she is and make the adjustments yourself since you write that your company is an “ideal one” and that you don’t want to resign.

 

Pray to God to transform her and to give you the grace to change yourself.  God bless you.

 

Josie O. Santamaria