Is Being the Office Fixer a Good Thing?

Is Being the Office Fixer a Good Thing?
Recently, I was in a conversation with a colleague. We were discussing a problem that we really didn’t own. We both came to that realization at the same time and laughed. How often do we choose to intervene when it isn’t our place or when it isn’t actually necessary. What does that mean? Isn’t being “a fixer” a good thing? In the workplace, I would answer that it depends. The following are some of the pros and cons of being the “workplace fixer.” ... Read more
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The Downside of Falling Into Leadership

The Downside of Falling Into Leadership
Your supervisor or manager is leaving. Perhaps she has been promoted, or she decided to retire, or she has found a position elsewhere. Regardless, you were surprised when management called you in and asked you to temporarily fill in for her until a replacement can be hired. It seemed politically inadvisable to decline the request, and, in truth, you were quite flattered and excited. You want to be a team player, and you think you are a good fit for the permanent position. You readily agreed ... Read more
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Avoid Speaking in Absolutes

Avoid Speaking in Absolutes
“Nobody likes me, everybody hates me. I think I’ll go eat worms.” Years ago, the old nursery rhyme above was sometimes used as a teaching moment for a child who was over-reacting to a personal situation. An argument with a best friend or not being selected for a team caused them to generalize or to make the situation seem worse than it was. Using an example that most children found humorous, the rhyme highlighted the exaggeration, and helped the child put things in better ... Read more
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Your Career Will Span Decades—There is Always Time for Change

Your Career Will Span Decades—There is Always Time for Change
We live in a country of choice. As a result, we are told from an early age that we can do great things—almost anything we want—and many of us do get to choose our professional paths. This may begin with an idea or focus in high school that leads to an area of study in college. There may be professors and other mentors who help you follow a chosen path. They may also help you find that first professional job. If you are lucky, your passion, your direction, your career choice, and your job ... Read more
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We are Always Judging and Being Judged

We are Always Judging and Being Judged
We judge people every time we meet them, every moment we are with them. And you are judged in return.  Sometimes our judgments are faulty. Think of a recent example when you misjudged someone. How did it happen. Did you make a quick appraisal—based on your first impression—that they were arrogant, frivolous, not very smart, unsophisticated, inexperienced, or lacking in understanding about a situation? Or did you rely on the previous opinions or labels from others, on what you had heard ... Read more
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Avoiding Professional Groupthink

Avoiding Professional Groupthink
Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that happens when someone or an in-group proposes a belief, action, or decision with great certainty, and others go along for the sake of harmony or to avoid conflict. As a result, dissenting viewpoints are suppressed, and independent thinking is strongly discouraged. While groupthink is generally thought to occur at the community or national level (for example, consider our political parties today), it also can be found within an agency or ... Read more
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Assessing Workplace Conflict

Assessing Workplace Conflict
There can be many types of conflict in the workplace. Work groups, teams, or departments may disagree about the best way to proceed. Employees may disagree about decisions management or their supervisors have made. There can also be conflict between two employees about a project or option. Sometimes conflicts occur because there is a lack of information or data. Other times, conflict results from a lack of resources, and the conflict becomes a zero-sum game. If one side wins, the other side ... Read more
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The Importance of Workplace Confidentiality

The Importance of Workplace Confidentiality
Years ago, I was making a presentation to an audience of health care professionals. To illustrate a point, I included a case example of an older deceased woman who had experienced a variety of issues. I had changed the name and some of the relevant identifying information to protect the women’s privacy, but my changes weren’t thorough enough. After my presentation, a young woman, who appeared upset, approached me. She loudly accused me of using her grandmother as my case ... Read more
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Delegation Requires Discipline

Delegation Requires Discipline
If you sometimes struggle with delegation,the following examples may be familiar to you: Delegation Failure 1. Your boss has made a team assignment, and each person was given a specific task. You’re good at research, so you get the data collection responsibility. Your colleague, John, is tasked with pulling the pieces together and writing the final report. You know John is not the best writer and you fear the project report will not adequately reflect the group effort. After the ... Read more
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Honesty is Always Best When Applying for a Job

Honesty is Always Best When Applying for a Job
We all have strengths, and we all have areas in which we are less competent. Usually, these equal out. We eventually hone our strengths with the goal of becoming a recognized expert in several areas. Sometimes, however, when job seeking and wanting to present the best possible application, we may over rate our competency level in some area. For example, did your two semesters of college French really result in your being “fluent in French?” Could you actually design a ... Read more
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