Viewing entries in
Office Politics

Ummm, excuse me?


Person A is busy at work, typing away on their computer or reading over some documentation. Person B walks into Person A’s office and immediately asks, “Where is person C?” You recognize this don’t you? It happens all the time.


There are so many things wrong with this, I don’t know where to start.

  • Whatever happened to “Hello, how are you doing today?”
  • The way the question is asked assumes that Person A knows where Person C is located. Person A may have no idea. Maybe a better way to ask is, “Hello Person A, do you know where Person B is?”
  • Person A may be in the middle of something important. Abruptly stopping them is disrespectful, inconsiderate, and may make them lose concentration.
  • This list goes one…


Be considerate

Guest Post: Jake Negovan on Free Agency in the Workplace

Sometimes somebody can say what you want to say better than you can. That is the case with today’s post. Today, I’d like to introduce friend and colleague Jake Negovan, his thoughts on free agency in the workplace, and how it can benefit both workers and employers. Jake is a columnist for the San Antonio Current and regular contributor to Red, Brown and Blue. I’m honored that he took the time to write a piece for this blog. For more articles by Jake, visit his blog here.

I am a major fan of professional basketball and spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about it. If you are not familiar with the NBA or the names LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Dirk Nowitzki, Joe Johnson, or Amare Stoudemire, you might not realize that 2010 is a big deal for something called “free-agency.” July 1st begins the NBA’s free-agency period, when players previously under contract with a team are no longer obligated to continue with that team and can field offers from others. Ideally, this means that the top-performing players are free to utilize market forces to put themselves on teams that will pay them well and collect championships in addition to providing geographical comforts the players desire.

Sounds like every job hunt, right?

Ok, maybe. But there’s an important difference, and it’s not the amount of money. It’s the terms. The NBA free-agents are going to choose an employer and they’re going to choose the duration of employment. You, too, can make the same choice as a free-agent employee (sometimes called a consultant or freelancer). This is a choice that few of us make when seeking work, usually because we don’t realize that it’s an option. Most employers don’t realize that it’s an option either. As the free-agent, though, you have the power to make it so.

When you take employment for a pre-specified duration, you’re doing a service to both parties. You establish yourself as a specialist, chosen because you have the expert knowledge and talent to accomplish a particular task. You’ll do the job you were hired for and then leverage that successful experience to land a more lucrative assignment, either with your current patron or another company. As you move from one assignment to the next, your professional profile increases and your network grows as you find yourself in new environments and circumstances. Employers also benefit from utilizing free-agent employees. Not only are they generally free from the overhead associated with benefits for a full-time permanent hire, they have less reason to fear attrition of focus and work-ethic from someone who knows exactly when their job ends. A free-lancer doesn’t have the luxury of coasting for a paycheck.

Educating your current or potential future employers on the benefits of free-agent employment is a powerful bargaining strategy that can net you more money, experience, opportunity, and freedom. The only thing they could lose is you.

Managers, How To Get People To Do Things

Why is it that some managers have great relationships with their employees while others don’t? How is it that turnover can drop, or increase tremendously with the addition or subtraction of a single person? Managers typically have the same or very similar goals, stresses, and pressures. Getting people to do what you want is, for the most part, pretty simple. You don’t have to have a prestigious degree. You don’t have to have the answers to everything. They may help you earn respect, but they won’t get people to do things for you. Respect is key to getting people to do things. The days when tyranny scared people into productivity are all but over. You have to make people feel important.


What Is Making People Feel Important:

  • Showing respect to the people with whom you work
  • Providing constructive criticism
  • Encouraging creative solutions
  • Involving your team
  • Remembering (and saying) a person’s name – VERY IMPORTANT
  • Saying “hello” to people (address them with their name)
  • Explaining the importance of a project or assignment
  • Listening to concerns (real listening)
  • Following up on those concerns


What Is NOT Making People Feel Important:

  • Attempting to buy respect
  • Providing destructive criticism
  • Not listening to critiques made of you
  • Assigning assignments and projects with no explanation
  • Not involving your team
  • Not listening to your team
  • Hearing concerns rather than listening to them
  • Forgetting about things that are important to others
  • Gossiping
  • Sexually harassment


I know you can think of others you can add. What else would you like to add to these lists? Leave your comments below.

Moving Beyond The Golden Rule

The “golden rule,” while often taught as the ideal way to treat others, does not take into account different personalities, cultures, and backgrounds.  Doing unto others as you would have others do unto you only work when people are like-minded. This may work when you share similar surroundings, teachings, and values. However, as technology, education, and work allows us to become more interconnected with people across the city, state, nation, and world, it’s important to realize that not everybody wants the same treatment.

 We need to move beyond the golden rule to something higher (maybe the platinum rule?) and do unto others as they would have you do unto them. I don’t want to be treated the way you want to be treated. I want to be treated the way I want to be treated.