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When A Co-Worker Bad Mouths You

We received an e-mail from David. He recently overheard one of his employees make some very negative comments about his management abilities.

He wants advice on how to approach this long-time employee of the company, who is about ten years older than David.

We have three recommendations for David:

  • Know your purpose before you start.
  • You want to have a conversation, not a confrontation. You want to find out if there is an underlying reason for your employee’s comments. Behave accordingly.

  • Report on what you heard.
  • Try to use the word “you” as little as possible. As in, “You said …” Instead, say “It was said …” You’ll accomplish far more by not backing him into a corner. Be as objective as possible so you’re more likely to have a productive conversation.

  • Role play.
  • We talked about role playing a couple of weeks ago. David’s situation is a great example of an interaction where role playing in advance is beneficial. As part of your role playing, come up with the possible scenarios. For instance, He cops an attitude This is a bad sign. However, as nicely and unemotionally as you can, let him know that you want a discussion, not an argument. Tell him again that you’re more concerned about why it was said than what was said. Keep in mind, though, that he may have become the proverbial “bad apple”. You may need to let him go. If you do, your remaining employees will likely ask you what took you so long. He denies he said it This is probably the most frustrating. Remind him that you heard it first-hand; it’s not hearsay. Ask him if he agrees with you that effective relationships, at work or anywhere, rely on honesty. If you can’t communicate honestly, it’s going to be hard to work together. He becomes overly apologetic He may have just been having a bad day and you got the brunt of it. Then move on … we all have bad days. However, it’s possible he’s not being sincere; he just wants to get you off his back now. Only you can judge that. He admits it and tells you what’s wrong This is the desired result. Hopefully, it’s the only scenario you encounter, but you may take a detour through one of the others. Regardless, thank him for his candor. Then demonstrate what a great manager you are by working with him to solve the underlying problem!

Our quote today is by Ayya Khema.

“Eventually we will find (mostly in retrospect, of course) that we can be very grateful to those people who have made life most .”

It’s difficult to see a difficult situation as an opportunity to grow. But if you do … you’ll thank yourself for it later.

Tomorrow, we’ll discuss intuition – it’s not just for women anymore, you know! Until then, here’s to your big success!

Turn Misfortune Into Fortune: Tips for Starting Over

Last time, we talked about Todd, a young real estate entrepreneur, whose triumph turned to tragedy. Todd’s story comes from an article, in the New York Times, by John Leland, entitled A Real Estate Speculator Goes From Boom To Bust. We discussed some lessons you can learn from Todd’s misfortune.

Today, we want to go beyond the lessons and offer some advice on how to recover from a devastating turn of events.

Keep your dream alive.
Stay positive. Reach out to people close to you. People love helping people. Let them.

You should also be thankful for your misfortune. Yes, we do mean that. It means you’re one step closer to success! History is ripe with examples of people who failed before they succeeded bigg. Plan on your name being added to that list!

Here’s the first step to starting over:
Assess your strengths and weaknesses. If you’re not going to repeat the past, you have to learn from it. That’s how you fail forward. Learn from it and then forget about it – move on.

In Todd’s case, it’s obvious he is a dynamic young man. His banker said he performs. That’s a striking compliment coming from a banker who has foreclosed on him. It appears that Todd is good with Operations and Sales. Management, particularly financial management, is his weakness. This is common among entrepreneurs.

You want to build on your strengths and get around your weaknesses. For example, Todd may take in a partner with strong financial skills to complement his abilities.

What if you’ve declared bankruptcy (or are deep in debt)?
We’re not attorneys, or financial planners, or anything else worthy of giving you information for your specific situation. Keep that in mind.

A successful business person referred a friend, who had just declared bankruptcy, to a banker. The bank turned him down. The business person called the banker and explained that his friend was a better risk than he was.

“How can that be?” the banker asked. “You have stellar credit.”

The business person replied, “Because if you lend me the money, I can declare bankruptcy tomorrow. My friend can’t do that for seven years.”

We’re not sure if that’s still the case, but the point is to find ways of turning your liabilities into assets. Todd has changed from a merchant-model (i.e. he buys it, then sells it), to a broker-model. Now he makes money without having to invest any capital. Brilliant!

Our quote today comes from the great Dig Hammarskjöld.

“Never measure the height of a mountain until you have reached the top.
Then you will see how low it was.”

Keep climbing. You’ll find that many of your mountains were really just mole hills.

Tune in next time to see what people regret the most, according to a recent study. Until then, here’s to your big success!