Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Worst Words to Say at Work

Some words and phrases are often used to buy time, avoid giving answers, and escape commitment. If you use these words and phrases yourself, take a scalpel and cut them out of your thinking, speaking, and writing.

"Try" is a weasel word. "Well, I'll try," some people say. It's a cop-out. They're just giving you lip service, when they probably have no real intention of doing what you ask. Remember what Yoda says to Luke Skywalker in "Star Wars": "Do or do not--there is no try." Take Yoda's advice. Give it your all when you do something. And if it doesn't work, start over.

Put passion into your work, and give it your best effort, so you can know that you did all you could to make it happen. So if the outcome you were expecting didn't come to fruition, it's not because you didn't do everything you could to make it happen. It just wasn't the right time for it or it wasn't meant to be.

This word is a trusted favorite of people who want to dismiss you, diminish what you say, or get rid of you quickly. "Whatever," they will say as an all-purpose response to your earnest request. It's an insult and a verbal slap in the face. It's a way to respond to a person without actually responding. When you say "whatever" after another person has said his or her piece, you have essentially put up a wall between the two of you and halted any progress in communicating. It's a word to avoid.

"Maybe" and "I don't know"
People will sometimes avoid making a decision--and hide behind words and phrases like "maybe" and "I don't know." There's a difference between legitimately not knowing something and using words like these as excuses. Sometimes during a confrontation, people will claim not to know something or offer the noncommittal response "maybe," just to avoid being put on the spot. If that seems to be the case, ask, "When do you think you will know?" or "How can you find out?" Don't let the person off the hook so easily.

"I'll get back to you"
When people need to buy time or avoid revealing a project's status, they will say, "I'll get back to you," and they usually never do. If people say they will get back to you, always clarify. Ask them when they will get back to you, and make sure they specify the day and time. If they don't, then pin them down to a day and time and hold them to it. If they won't give you a day or time, tell them you'll call in a day or week and follow up. Make sure you call and get the information you need.

Projects depend on everyone doing his or her part. People who use "if" are usually playing the blame game and betting against themselves. They like to set conditions, rather than assuming a successful outcome. People who rely on conditional responses are fortifying themselves against potential failure. They will say, "If Bob finishes his part, then I can do my part." They're laying the groundwork for a "no fault" excuse and for not finishing their work.
There are always alternatives, other routes, and ways to get the job done. Excuse makers usually have the energy of a slug and the spine of a jellyfish. You don't want them on your team when you're trying to climb Mt. Everest.

"Yes, but . . ."
This is another excuse. You might give your team members suggestions or solutions, and they come back to you with "Yes, but . . ." as a response. They don't really want answers, help, or solutions. You need to call the "Yes, but . . ." people out on their avoidance tactic by saying something like "You know, Jackie, every time I offer you a suggestion you say, 'Yes, but . . . ,' which makes me think you don't really want to solve this problem. That's not going to work. If you want to play the victim, go right ahead, but I'm not going to allow you to keep this up." After a response like that, you can be assured that the next words you hear will not be "Yes, but . . ."!

"I guess . . ."
This is usually said in a weak, soft-spoken, shoulder-shrugging manner. It's another attempt to shirk responsibility--a phrase that is muttered only when people half agree with you but want to leave enough leeway to say, "Well, I didn't really know. . . . I was only guessing." If you use this phrase, cut it out of your vocabulary.

"We'll see . . ."
How many times did we hear our parents say this? We knew they were buying time, avoiding a fight or confrontation, or really saying no. It's better to be decisive and honest by saying, "I need more information. Please present your case or send me the data--both pro and con--so I can make an informed decision." That way, the interested parties will contribute to an in-depth, well-researched "verdict."

This column is an excerpt of "Surviving the Toxic Workplace" (McGraw-Hill, 2010), by Linnda Durre, a psychotherapist, business consultant, and columnist.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

5 Things You Might Be Doing to Sabotage Your Relationship

Could you be driving a perfectly good relationship onto a crash course? If you’re participating any of the following five romance-foiling pitfalls, the answer is yes. Instead of steering toward failure, you can increase your chances for a long-term love affair by avoiding these common self-destructive practices.

1. You’re frequently disappointed by your partner’s gifts or gestures.
He might not have the greatest taste in jewelry or the latest fashion and consequently his gifts may fall short of your stylish expectations. But in matters of the heart, it really is the thought that counts. If you want to stay in good favor, be thankful of the effort. After all, nothing discourages gift-giving or spontaneous romantic gestures like real or perceived criticism from the recipient.

2. You focus on his faults.Even Mr. Right is not going to be perfect.
In fact, far from it. A solid relationship is not about verbally beating his flaws out of him any more than it is about him expecting you to change into his “dream girl.” The secret is to learn to love even the things you hate about him—or at least recognize that they are to be embraced as part of the gloriously imperfect package. If you can accept his less savory qualities, he’s more likely to be able to return the courtesy—and that’s an indication of true compatibility. Besides, if it’s the real deal, even his faults may grow into endearing idiosyncrasies.

3. You’re too available or have drastically changed your routine for him.
It might be tempting to spend all your free time with your significant other, especially during the “honeymoon stage.” But losing yourself in your loved one invariably results in backlash, which might include bickering or a loss of interest on his part. Schedule a girl’s night out with your gal pals, don your hottest LBD and sky-scraping heels and leave your man on his own for the night. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder. Plus, maintaining your own identity and routine lets him know you that while you want him in your life, you don’t need him—independence and confidence never stops being attractive.

4. You’ve stopped getting glam for your dates…ever.
As a relationship becomes more serious, what you lose in excitement you make up for in intimacy. There’s something to be said for a cozy movie night at home in which you wear his favorite T-shirt. However, taking the time to don your hottest date night dress or throwing on new lingerie, may breathe new life in your relationship and remind you both of your exciting beginning.

5. You discuss your relationship too much.
Once you’ve moved past the casual dating stage to full-on coupledom, it might be tempting to talk about your relationship more. Beware of discussing the ins and outs of your courtship, asking repeatedly if he is “OK” or obsessing on your relationship’s rough edges. Not to say you shouldn’t have an open communication, but make sure you’re living in the moment and keeping things fun and light on a regular basis. After all, you get what you focus on.

Article retrieved from :

Monday, May 3, 2010

Cocooned in our comfort zone?

Should we blame on the Bumi's Policy?
Should we blame on the National Economic Policy?
Should we blame on ourselves because we are 100% satisfied in our comfort zone?
Tepok dada, tanye selera...
Inspired by this article:
by Zainah Anwar
(The Star 2 May 2010)