6 Tips To Avoid Being Voted “Most Hated” In the Workplace
Let’s take a moment to talk about professional courtesy. Scratch that. Let’s just talk about plain courtesy. Throughout the course of my career, I have been in positions where I got to speak and work with customers, clients, coworkers, and agents from other companies … and the list goes on. Bottom line, I have become a self-taught expert in dealing with people. So here is my question: at what point did it become acceptable for people not to be courteous? I do not expect everyone to be Susie Sunshine all day, every day. I understand that people have bad days. However, there are some basics that I would think are just standard and not that difficult to abide by. In this blog post, I’m going to share my six tips to avoid being voted “Most Hated” in the workplace!
1. Show up.
Sounds pretty simple, right? In the managerial positions I have held, a huge peeve of mine was when people just didn’t show up ... no show, no call. Would it kill you to just send a quick text to say you’re running late or can’t make it? After all this was a date and time that YOU agreed to at some point in time.
In my days of real estate, I couldn’t even count the number of times that I had made an appointment and sat at a location waiting for well over 30 minutes for someone who never showed up. Sometimes I would call or text and the person wouldn’t even respond with an apology! On occasion, I would get a text back … something to the effect of, “something came up” or “Oops. I forgot.” Ok, things happen. I get it. However, please remember that someone is on the other side of this arrangement and would very much appreciate a heads-up so their time isn’t wasted.
I know some people might think that if they have to either cancel an appointment or miss a day of work, the other person or their manager will be upset. Newsflash: they’ll be more upset if they get blown off completely. Time wasted is not going to make anyone happy.
2. Be nice.
Super basic. In my everyday life, I’m actually in shock with the number of adults that are just plain nasty. Again, let me use an example from real estate. I unfortunately had too many dealings with some not-so-nice agents. And it would always blow my mind. They had a client selling a house. I had a client buying a house. Seems to me like we had a common goal! However, entering the contract phase felt more like entering the gauntlet! I get it. They were protecting their client as I was protecting mine. What I never understood was why I felt like I was participating in a live reenactment of the Battle of Gettysburg.
Here’s the thing. We all have had different life experiences and we all have come from different professional backgrounds. We do not need to do brunch and be besties … but can we please appreciate each other for what the other has to offer? I can guarantee that if we put our differences aside, we can make magic happen.
This, of course, applies outside of real estate ... rudeness happens in all industries. The common link in all industries? Humans. So just be nice. If someone rubs you the wrong way, chalk it up to them having a bad day. Don’t snap back. Be polite and professional. If they continually prove to just be a rotten Anna Banana (because Lord knows these exist), then kill them with kindness. It will likely diffuse the hostility and it will give you satisfaction. I promise. As much as it may pain you, keep in mind that if a person acts miserable all the time, they probably lead a pretty unhappy life to begin with. Don’t add to the negativity.
Tip 2: Don't be the rotten banana.
3. Follow through.
If you say you are going to do something, do it. At the same time, if you aren’t going to do something, do not say that you will. Nothing is more frustrating (especially when you are battling deadlines) than when you are patiently waiting for someone else to deliver their piece of the puzzle.
People are going to count on you. In some cases, it means they have put their rump on the line for you, too. Even if bailing on a commitment may seemingly only make you look bad, think about how it will make the company or client you are representing look. If you can’t deliver, do not commit.
4. Give credit when credit is due.
I remember feeling bummed after being declined for a position I had applied for. I remember feeling disappointed when I didn’t get a promotion I thought I deserved. These are what we call letdowns. And we all face many of them in this life! While your first instinct might be to show animosity toward the person who did get the job or score the promotion, don’t be a sore loser. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and congratulate that coworker!
I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and at the exact moment when it’s supposed to happen. So if something didn’t work out for you, there’s a good chance there’s an opportunity around the corner that’s meant just for you.
Keep in mind, too, that this is an opportunity for you to soak in some constructive feedback. If you find yourself in a position where you see a fellow business owner in a similar field, or a coworker in the same department, receive special recognition, take this as an opportunity to reevaluate your company, yourself, and your way of doing things. Many times you can learn from your competition and colleagues. Be the bigger person. Shake their hand. Give them a high five. Give them credit, as it is due. Not only will you come out smelling like roses but that type of sportsmanship will be noticed and pay you back in the future.
5. Mind yo business.
Rule of thumb: Not your circus, not your monkeys. Busy bodies find themselves in the middle of some ugly pickles because they should have just stayed out of it. This especially applies in a professional setting. Your work is your livelihood. It literally feeds your kids, makes your car payment, keeps a roof over your head. Do you really want to compromise all of that because you couldn’t resist adding to the daily gossip about Sammy Salamander sleeping with his assistant? Stay away. Do not get involved. Mind your own monkeys.
Tip 5: Mind your monkeys.
6. Support each other.
I, of course, am very vocal about women supporting other women in business. Regardless of your gender, orientation, color, education, economic class, favorite boy band ... we need to join together and help each other out. Albert Einstein (I hear he was a pretty smart dude) made a very bold statement that has always stuck with me.
If you can help someone, why not? No one knows 100% of everything. I know I don’t. I’ll bet you don’t either. Even if you have been in your industry for 35 years, there is always something new to learn. If you have an apprentice come into the shop, why not take him under your wing as opposed to heckling him?
I was very fortunate to have a friend in the real estate industry who had been doing it for much longer than me. If I ever had a question, she was always more than happy to help me. She could have just as easily taken on the attitude of, “Why should I help her? She's the competition. She should figure this out on her own.” Guess what though? Anytime she had a question about animals or marketing, I was there for her.
Be that go-to person. It will come back tenfold. (Just as it will come back in its ugliest form if you aren’t helpful to someone just because you are on your high horse.) Remember, you never know when you will encounter that garbage man again. It just so happens that his name might be the signature on your paycheck one day.
I will leave you with this:
Oh, and one more thing. Never swipe someone's banana, Chobani yogurt, or any other food item from the break room. That's totally not cool. And your co-workers will hate you for it.