Relate Well! Blog

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

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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How Managers Can Improve Staff Morale - Part I

Most employees who quit their jobs are leaving because of their managers and low staff morale, not necessarily their companies.  Sure, we can think of exceptions, like an employee who moves away, or someone who works at a burger joint who decides to follow a vegan diet, or someone who feels a company product, practice or philosophy violates their own values.  But in cases where the employee just can’t stand to go in to work anymore, most of the time it’s personal – often directly related to the interaction they have, or don’t have, with their manager.  If the manager/employee interactions are negative or inadequate, low staff morale will often ensue.

Many studies have revealed that there is a direct relationship between employee morale and productivity and performance, so making a conscious effort to improve morale is simply good business.  The Gallup Organization has estimated that there are 22 million actively disengaged employees...

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How Your Past Affects Your Marriage

Remember the old jump rope jingle?

Tommy and Suzy sittin’ in a tree

K-I-S-S-I-N-G.

First comes love, then comes marriage

Then comes Suzy with a baby carriage!

We usually inserted the names of a boy and a girl we knew and used this rhyme as a way of embarrassing them; but the point is, it wasn’t that long ago that the sequence of events in the relationship were the norm, and variances were socially unacceptable.

Social climate, perceived standards of morality and priorities have changed a lot since then!  I read some interesting research by Galena K. Rhoades and Scott M. Stanley that explored how the “new normal” trends have affected the younger generation of married couples.  Their findings include three major conclusions:

  1. What happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas, so to speak. Our past experiences, especially when it comes to love, sex, and children, are linked to our future marital quality.

Current statistics show that 90% of couples...

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Do the Right Thing

In the business world we often hear terms and strategies for doing business that are predatory, aggressive and even deceptive in order to make the sale or increase profits. Words like shark, war, and guerrilla come up in the vernacular. But I’ve been watching people over the years, and find that, in the long run, people who are willing to cheat or compromise often lose out on true success. People who do the right things for the right reasons have more satisfying careers and happier lives.

So, let’s explore this a little further: Have you ever met someone that you consider to be, or to have been, a really good person? I would imagine that you could probably name at least a few. What character traits do you think describe a “good” man or a good woman in our society today? Perhaps words such as kind, thoughtful, generous, giving and unselfish top your list. If so, I would agree – these are traits we would all expect a good person to possess,...

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Marriage is Alive and Pretty Well

We have all heard that the majority of marriages end in divorce, and if you believe what you hear, you may think the tradition of marriage is doomed.  But I recently read the research published by Shaunti Feldhahn based on census statistics and many other sources.  In her book, The Good News About Marriage, she and her research assistant, Tally Whitehead, dig deep into facts, figures, trends, and urban legends about the state of marriage today.

The full scope of marriage research is too overwhelming to summarize in a blog post, so today we will look at two significant statistics about women that give us reason to hope.

In an excerpt from her article, The Numbers, Shaunti says, “The percentage of women still married to their first spouse and second spouse, on average, is 71% and 65% respectively.  Note that although 41% of the baby-boomer generation (the highest-risk group) was divorced by age 50-59, their high divorce rate is primarily because of second and...

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Strategies for Overcoming Burnout - Part 4 of 4

In my previous blogs we talked about the causes and symptoms of burnout, the importance of thinking differently and some ideas to revitalize your life to help break the burnout cycle.

In this final blog we will talk about Strategy#3: Recommit.

You may wonder why I would suggest recommitment so soon after your initial efforts to break the cycles that cause burnout. The reality is that it took awhile for you to get to that broken-down state of body and mind, and it’s difficult to make a full recovery. As you gain insight and make a little progress toward re-balancing your life, it will still be easy to become discouraged when it seems to take so long.

So, as you recommit to the process, here are some things to consider:

Career assessment – If you feel you are at a crossroads or a breaking point because you’re so burned out you’ve lost motivation and enthusiasm, it may be time to decide if you are doing what you really want to be doing.  Talk with...

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Strategies for Overcoming Burnout - Part 3 of 4

In my last blog I suggested that the first strategy for dealing with burnout is to Refocus. It’s important to move your gaze from the quagmire of stress and over-commitment and gain a new outlook. I urged you to think about how you think and shared some books that have helped me and a lot of others.

Today we will talk about Strategy #2: Revitalize.

If you neglect to put gas in your car you will soon find yourself stuck on the side of the road.  The same is true of your body.  If you neglect your legitimate physical needs – sleep, nutrition, and physical activity – you will burn out quickly.

Focused Relaxation – Several times a day practice deep breathing by inhaling slowly through your nose for about five seconds, then exhaling gently for eight to ten seconds.  This will lower your heart rate and blood pressure and supply oxygen to your brain.  Also try progressive muscle relaxation, which is simply tightening your...

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Burnout: How to Recognize if You're There - Part 1 of 4

“I hate my job because it’s consuming me; I miss my life and I can’t remember what it’s like to feel good.  I wish I could just escape to a deserted island in the middle of nowhere!”  Can you relate?

In today’s faced paced, hyper-competitive and tough economic times, a growing number of men and women are experiencing the painful effects of burnout.  According to a CareerBuilding.com report, 77 percent of employees claim they feel burnout related to their jobs.  In another national poll, over half of the respondents reported that they were less productive at work because of job stress.

Burnout has been defined as: “A state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion caused by long-term exposure to a demanding work situation.  Burnout is the cumulative result of stress.”  The stress is usually caused by working long hours, decreased job security, unexpected and uncontrollable change, unfulfilled...

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Strategies for Overcoming Burnout - Part 2 of 4

In my last blog I described some ways to determine if you may be experiencing burnout from your work and stresses. If you’re already struggling it can be difficult to muster up the energy to constructively address the problem when you are exhausted, but things are not likely to change if you don’t.  As overwhelming as it may feel right now, there are strategies you can use to improve your situation and regain control of your life.

Today we will look at Strategy #1: Refocus.

Confront the Issue – Remember the saying, “If you always do what you have always done you will always get what you have always got.”  Making an intentional choice to interrupt the pattern of your life is the first step toward getting back into balance.  This will require setting some time aside to think and plan.  For most of us, the only “spare” time we have is whenever we usually watch television, so setting your favorite shows to record...

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