Thursday, October 27, 2011

How to untangle any conflict

This article relates to the topic of conflict management in the workplace. In our textbook (p.101), conflict is defined as when two or more people clash over an issue about which they have different beliefs or values. Overall, conflict correlates with misunderstandings or confusion between people. Although there are many causes of conflict, many of which can be found in the textbook, there are many strategies that might help us to deal with these conflicts effectively, positively and successfully.

1.      Determine what you really want: Nobody enjoys arguing so in the heat of the moment when you are you should; stop, acknowledge that you would like to work things out and suggest an alternate time to discuss a negotiation. Importantly, think about your ideal outcome of the discussion. Writing down your feelings can help bring clarity to your thoughts. Do not let your emotions get the best of you.
2.       Gather information: After working on your thoughts, find out about the other person’s. Never assume to know what the other person is feeling. Never tune out the other party. Understanding the other person’s position as best as you can is key if you want to reach an agreement. An example of applying this is suppose you didn’t get a promotion that you believed you deserved. Instead of confronting your boss (which is a bad!), you should ask them why they felt you weren’t a good fit for the position.
3.      Determine your negotiation process: Begin this process by deciding whom you want to be present for the discussion when and where it will take place. Having a neutral setting will make both parties comfortable. Set ground rules for how you will talk to each other. You should vow to keep name-calling and accusations out of your discussion. Also deciding ahead of time who will speak first will help.
4.      Send the right message: You should go into the discussion with several ideas on how to resolve the matter/conflict. Making it clear that you are there to work things out will help establish common grounds with the other person. Avoid movements that show irritation or frustration (folding arms, rolling eyes, deep sighing, pointing fingers).
5.      Negotiate: Take turns stating grievances, speaking only in your turn. When you feel like your “losing your cool”, take a couple of deep breaths and wait a few seconds before responding. That way you can avoid saying negative things out of anger again! Also, slow down the communication so you can fully process the situation before speaking. A good phrase is; “Let me understand what it is you’re saying”.

If all else fails conflicts will not resolve themselves by simply avoiding or ignoring them. Bringing in a mediator helps to play the neutral party and gather information collectively from both sides in order to find the best solution for both people. Taking initiative, responsibility and positive steps to overcome conflict and find a solution will help increase your chances of a positive outcome about the situation, relationship and feelings toward yourself.

Article:, CNN

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

“Motivation = Empowerment”, Motivation in the workplace isn't about what you do for your employees; it's about the work you empower your employees to do for you.

This article discusses how extrinsic rewards can be non-effective towards employees motivation. By providing extrinsic rewards, such as time off or annual bonuses, it is creating “short” term productivity and is being expected by employees constantly. When these rewards become the basis factor and begins to decrease, so will the motivation of employees. It will also cause them to become dissatisfied with their job as well.

As discussed in our textbook, the article references Herzbergs Two-Factor theory (Motivation) as the reasons why employees value the work they do and are motivated to continue their achievement for greater success. However, as stated in the article one primary reason why employees are dissatisfied with their organizations and thus forces them to leave is due to their supervisors. The article goes on to discuss what it is managers can do to help motivate their employees to achieve and accomplish greater success within themselves that is greater than outward benefits.

One thing a manager should know is what the difference between motivation and reward are. As stated in the article: “real motivation comes from the work itself”, by giving materialistic incentives to employees managers are giving their employees the opportunity to ask for more as well as continuously expecting these rewards. When managers have the intentions of bringing upon change in order to motivate they should ask themselves if employees will benefit, grow and ultimately be able to handle more responsibility when need be.

Some ways a manager can effectively motivate and empower their employees is by recognizing that people are naturally problem solvers. Everyone has their own opinions and personal views on things. By giving employees the opportunity to express their opinions, thoughts or ideas managers are giving them a sense of “ownership” to their work. When employees are appreciated for their input they are more willing to take responsibility for problems that may occur and be more enthralled in finding the solution to the matter. Another way is by building trust among employees by getting to know them. This can help managers gain more insight on what motivates employees. Different people are motivated by different things, this can also help managers to vary their degree levels of structure in regards to working with different employees. An effective manager should also be able to become a coach to employees. By coaching, managers are giving employees the opportunity to find answers themselves. This helps to give employees more confidence within themselves instead of providing them with answer. Another way is by focusing on what is working within the organization as opposed to what isn’t. This creates an environment in which employees are more open for discussion, less apprehensive, and can learn new solutions. Lastly, recognizing employees through responsibility and advancement in which appropriate recognition is given by the manager and the awarding of advancement within the organization will help employees maintain the mind frame and the sense of achievement.


Title: “Motivation = Empowerment”, Motivation in the workplace isn't about what you do for your employees; it's about the work you empower your employees to do for you.

Author: Chris Musselwhite

Sunday, October 16, 2011

How To Navigate The Unstable Job Market

Seeing as how most of us in this class are seniors and with graduation approaching fairly soon, we need to plan ahead on how we are going to succeed in our nation's currently unstable job market. Although new jobs are being added, our nation still falls short 250,000 jobs economists say need to be added monthly in order to make real progress in decreasing the unemployment rates. Due to the unstable job market competition will continue to be high for people looking for jobs. For those who are already employed will have many expectations they will have to uphold to. This is our economic reality, we are going to have to continue to adapt until a stable job market becomes more promising.


1.) Don't apply to every job you see: It is a waste of time, it is better to spend your time on fewer applications that you have the most qualifications for.
2.) Quantify accomplishments on your resume: Doing this adds weight to resume and gives clarity.
Write down what you've been doing on the job and be specific as possible. For each item, ask yourself "so what" & "why" they are so important to have. These questions will help you come up with the answer and your reasoning.
3.) Prepare for your interviews: Research the organization and their key people. You should know some things such as products, services, locations, recent mergers, etc, before hand. It also helps to be prepared for commonly asked questions during interviews such as "Why should I hire you"


1.) Communicate with your supervisor: Keeping an open line of communication with your boss will be very helpful. Asking for more responsibilities can lead to more autonomy and then more empowerment. It will also remind your boss how valuable you are.
2.) Find a mentor: Having a mentor can be very beneficial in many ways. In case of company layoffs, if you have a mentor within the company you work for, then you will have an advocate in your corner. If your mentor is outside your company then you have a networking contact should you endure tough times.
3.) Learn the business: Understanding your company's business objectives can help you identify opportunities to improve on your capabilities and do your job better.

The more prepared we make ourselves now, the more we will be ready to make it in this tumultuous job market after graduation!

full article:

Sunday, October 9, 2011

5 Rules for Success At Work

I found something interesting in this article, it states "Most people think that they are brillant and effective communicators, if you ask people to rank themselves on their ability to communicate, nearly everyone will put themselves in the top 10%". We make assumptions that we are the best at communicating because we do it on a daily basis. Although we communicate daily, we should always review the difference between personal and workplace communication.

The following 5 rules are important rules for the workplace in order to have effective communication:

  1. When in doubt, Overcommunicate - It is important to repeat messages for clarity, if they are important.
  2. Use Multiple Channels - For important messages, sending them in several ways is helpful. Such as by e-mail, written annoncement and a verbal reminder.
  3. Think Like a Journalist - Make sure your messages answer the questions who?, what?, when?, where?, how? and why? (espescially when policy's are being changed in the workplace).
  4. Be Audience Focused - Always review your e-mails and messages from an audience's perspective before sending them to the receiver.
  5. Be Authentic - "Say what you mean, mean what you say". If you want your mesaage to get across effectively, you must have a good record of openness and honesty