Relate Well! Blog

Addressing the all-important and often perplexing topics and issues related to enhancing your personal growth and professional development

Help! My Child is a Bully

As a parent, you want to help your child if he’s being harassed at school, but what if it’s your child who’s pushing others around? First, understand that even good parents who do many things right can have a child who’s a bully. If you do, it’s important to learn what influences are at work.

Researchers at the University of Arizona surveyed 6th to 8th graders. Those who reported bullying most had experienced more forceful, physical discipline from their parents, viewed more TV violence and misbehaved more at home. In that group, 32% lived with a stepparent and 36% were in single-parent households. They generally had fewer adult role models, more exposure to gang activity and easier access to guns. Researchers concluded that bullies learn much of their behavior by example, and consequently need as much help as their victims.

Other predisposing factors include a strong desire for attention, immaturity, a lack of popularity among peers and a dislike for...

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How to Sabotage Your Relationships

Send mixed signals – What a great way to get off to a bad start in a relationship! If you want people to be confused and angry, be sure to keep them guessing about what you are thinking or what you really mean.  It can also drive people crazy if you’re unwilling to express your honest opinion, or if you make them wonder if you’re telling the truth.  Mixed signals will keep others off guard and frustrated.

Assume the worst – Convince yourself that the friend who let you down did it on purpose; don’t even consider the possibility that it was an honest mistake or simple misunderstanding.  If something doesn’t go your way, you can effectively sabotage your relationship if you begin by assuming that it’s never going to be okay, and then respond accordingly. Rehearse the belief that you have to look out for Number One because others are out to get you.

Blow off Commitments – Don’t say “no” to anything –...

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The Attitude of Gratitude: How to make your life better every day!

 I hope you’re reading this with the smell of turkey and pumpkin pie in the air. Thanksgiving is one of the things I am thankful for, because it gives us an opportunity to consider everything we have that inspires an attitude of gratitude.

In my last blog, I shared the Happiness Formula, and the research showed that some of our tendency to be naturally positive or negative is simply an inborn part of who we are.  However, we also found that almost half of the influence comes from what we choose to do.  I am thankful for that, because it means we can all intentionally find things to be grateful for and improve our outlook on life.

I came across this list of blessings on the web, and though you may have seen it, it bears repeating at this time of year.

Blessings

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the million who won’t survive the week.

If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of...

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Don't Take Your Anger Home!

If you have had a terrible day at work and you are angry or grouchy, what does your family see and feel when you get home?  Do you walk in with a scowl on your face and a hot temper?  Or are you able to make the emotional transition from anger to calm?

The reality is, there are days that push your buttons and test your patience.  I hope these days are few and far between for you, but in my work with both coaching and counseling clients, it seems that some people are frustrated almost all the time by their job or people in the workplace.  In other blogs and articles we have talked about some of the ways you can make your situation better at work, but even before the problems are resolved, it is important for you to take a cue from Las Vegas and say, “What happens at work, stays at work.”

It is critically important that you get your emotions under control before you walk in the door.  Don’t bring the negative emotions home with you. ...

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Ask the Right Questions, Receive Better Answers - Part II

Last week we started talking about how asking good questions in the right way could improve communication and cooperation with your staff and coworkers.  The first three recommendations were to listen carefully, control your emotions, and start with something positive.  Today we will discuss a few more strategies.

Build on agreement. If your question is likely to reflect disagreement or an alternative point of view, attempt to find something you can agree on first and preface your question with it. For example, “I agree with you that we need a policy governing this issue. My question concerning your recommendation for the policy is this…” Agreement on an issue, no matter how small, puts you in less of an adversarial role.

Avoid “why” questions. The word “why” can come across as accusatory, and communicates disappointment or disapproval. This one little word has the power to trigger a defensive reaction. See if you can...

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Ask the Right Questions, Receive Better Answers - Part I

Here’s the scenario: It has just come to your attention that a customer filed a complaint about Mr. Smith, one of your employees. While your gut tells you that the customer may have overreacted a bit, there’s enough information to warrant a meeting with Mr. Smith. You know from past experience that he’s somewhat sensitive to criticism, but you have several legitimate concerns. How can you get the information you need without triggering a negative response from Mr. Smith?

Here’s another common office dilemma: You are meeting with a vendor who’s behind schedule and over budget on a project. You don’t want to jeopardize the job and you don’t want to burn a bridge with this company. However, you’re not at all satisfied with the way things are going and you need to take some answers back to your VP of Operations. What is your best approach?

It takes cooperation between every person involved to ensure the smooth operation of a company or...

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Overcoming the Fear of Change

Change is inevitable – everybody knows that.  Some of you reading this today don’t even know it used to be common for a person to start a job in their teens and work their way up the ladder, eventually retiring at age 65 from the same company!  Today, employment is much more fluid, and many people experience job change frequently, sometimes by moving on to better opportunities, but sometimes because their current job is changing due to new ownership, new strategies, new methods and new technology.

Still, in spite of the new normal trends, most people struggle with change even if it’s positive. In today’s business environment, since nothing stays the same for very long, those who are unable to effectively “ride the waves” will likely find themselves drowning.  Here are ten tips to help you navigate in a changing world.

“To change is to be vulnerable. And to be vulnerable is to be alive.” Alexis DeVeaux

1. Jump in and stay...

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Fear and Cockroaches

I meet with people nearly every day who are controlled by their fears or victimized by the fears of their spouse, parent or other influential person in their life.  They often miss out on the joy of life because they are consumed with worry about financial ruin, illness, rejection, criticism and the list goes on and on.

The emotional, physical and psychological symptoms that accompany the anxiety brought on by these fears often greatly diminish a person’s quality of life and ability to relate well at home and work.  People experiencing fear and anxiety often tell me they live with a constant sense of panic or dread that something bad is going to happen.  Or they suffer with physical symptoms like headaches, stomach cramps, chest pain, tension and fatigue.  Of course, it’s always important to check with your physician to rule out health problems, but it’s equally important to learn how your body tends to react to fear and anxiety, because long...

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10 Keys to Effective Office Communication

Building and maintaining strong relationships on the job can be a challenge.  One of the greatest challenges is knowing how to communicate effectively.  These 10 keys to effective office communication will help you build stronger work relationships and a position your business for greater success.

1. Avoid written communication when your emotions are involved. Just because it’s “business” doesn’t mean you won’t have strong feelings when communicating with a co-worker. If you’re happy, it’s tempting to punctuate with triple exclamation points, smiley faces, etc. (I’m not saying you can never do that, but it’s not very professional – use them sparingly if you must.) Conversely, if you have negative emotions, it’s more likely you’ll be terse, abrupt or write things you’re sorry about later. It can be better to talk to the person face-to-face so your body language and expressions can help...

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How Managers Can Improve Staff Morale - Part 2

If you’re a manager, you know the challenge of keeping your best employees and trying to bring the others to a higher level of performance.  While an employee may simply not have the skills to do their job well, in many cases an underperforming team member may have more of an attitude problem than an ability problem.  Fortunately, there are some practical things you, as a manager, can do about it.

In my last blog I shared the first five of ten strategies for improving staff morale within your team.  Here are the remaining five strategies.  Feel free to pass them on.

 

  1. Understand your team member’s behavioral style 

What exactly is a behavioral style? Simply stated, it’s a “big picture” view of the way you are.  It’s the byproduct of a set of personal traits and characteristics that are inherited, learned through significant role models and influenced by early life experiences.

These traits and characteristics...

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