Toxic workplace behaviours emerge in many workplaces - and if you’re working closely with toxic coworkers - it can be hard to stay motivated!
Today I’ve got three ways that will stop that bad behaviour from toxic work colleagues in its tracks.
I am Dr Suzanne Doyle-Morris, founder of inclusiq and I’m talking about toxic work behaviours and how to deal with those toxic people at work.
Working in toxic workplace environment can be challenging. First thing to understand is that toxic behaviour, whether it’s inappropriate jokes, bullying or even harassment, is often the effect of overconfidence.
Let’s be clear, it doesn’t mean your toxic colleague is full of self-esteem. It just means they’ve not been challenged on this behaviour before, because most of us let it slide, so they become overconfident.
By the end of the video, you’ll know exactly how to handle a toxic environment at work and deal with toxic people at work.
Do you want to start impressing your boss, influencing others at work, or you want to know how to make your boss like you or improve your relationship with your boss? Impressing your boss - it’s the simplest way to not only get ahead but it can also set you up for bigger things if your boss moves and either their spot becomes available or they take you with them to a better opportunity. Either way, It’s hard to meet someone who doesn’t want to impress their boss.I bet if you thought about it, your relationship with your boss could do with a bit of work? That's definitely true for my coaching clients, many of whom, I've given the following tips to help them impress their boss.
There are THREE LEVELS to impressing your boss.
Level 1: DO YOUR DAY JOB WELL
So the first thing is to do you day job well. That’s a basic, so I’m not going to spend any time on it. It’s ground level stuff when it comes to impressing your boss. The only reason I’m mentioning it all is how many frustrated senior leaders I speak to who say ‘He only started a few months ago and is already asking about promotion!’ or the equally popular ‘She’s asking what extra she can take on, but she’s not even doing the basics well yet!’. That exasperates and isn’t going to get you anywhere quickly. Enough said.
Level 2: ASK YOUR BOSS ABOUT THEIR PRIORITIES
If you want to impress your boss, ask them about their priorities and routinely. Questions such as ‘If I could only focus on 3 things for you, what would they be?’. This is about getting your boss to prioritise what’s important to them, not just to you. Then revert to step 1 and do those things really well. The reason I’m asking you to check in routinely is because, just like everyone’s life: priorities change based on what’s going on in the company, the market, for clients or other stakeholders. So you’ll need to be flexible. If the second time you ask them, they give you a different priority, then don’t try to additionally take it on to the first list. Maintain your boundaries and say ‘Okay, thanks for the update on the situation. Compared to last month’s priority list of X, Y and Z - what’s now a nice to have rather than a priority’. This is a key one, and particularly overlooked by a lot of women who simply say ‘Yes’, to every new request until they are trying to do it all - rather than focusing on a few priorities.
Level 3: TAKE AWAY THEIR STRESSES
The third piece in impressing your boss is to help them get ahead of the stresses their job causes them. Impressing your boss is a bit like dating, in that you always remember the people who go above and beyond. Anyone can take you to a movie and buy a tub of popcorn - extra butter please. That’s Level 1 stuff. But it’s not particularly memorable! It’s the ones who go beyond what your expecting in how considerate they were that you remember. It’s interesting what you can glean from a conversation where you ask the simple: ‘What keeps you up at night?’ or ‘What headaches could you do without?’ Remember, they too have a boss with their own priorities. Helping them sort out in their own head most important to them is a great way to impress your boss. Even just asking ‘What would it mean to you if you achieved that thing?’ If you can focus on helping them manage their daily headaches, you’ll not only impress your boss, you’ll turn them into an advocate.
Now I’m going to share my favourite move with a pen that will impress your boss and show them you're serious. When you ask these questions, starting with asking about your boss’s priorities, write down their answers in front of them. It’s remarkable to me how frequently we ask questions, but don’t show the person who answered that we’re going to do anything with it. If I answer a question you ask and you just ‘remember it’, I have to hope you have a blooming good memory! However, if you take the time to write down my answers in front of me, it subconsciously sends me the message that you’ll do something with what I told you, and that’s impressive.
What might you, Maya Angelou and Michelle Obama all have in common? Self-doubt perhaps? Otherwise known as ‘impostor syndrome’ or ‘intruder syndrome’, it affects women, no matter how accomplished or well-qualified they are, far more than it does men. On book tours for her bestseller ‘Becoming’, Michelle Obama exposed this frailty when admitting to feeling like an imposter most of the time. Similarly, the acclaimed novelist Maya Angelou admitted: "I have written eleven books, but each time I think, 'uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.'
If YOU also feel self-doubt creeping in occasionally (or even regularly!),keep reading for my imposter syndrome treatment.
I promise YOU. ARE. NOT. ALONE.
In the 25 years focusing on the psychology of professional women, I’ve developed 3 three ways to use your ‘fear of being found out’ to your advantage, to help you overcome imposter syndrome.
1. THINK OF IT AS A GIFT
Clearly, this is the ill-fitting gift you didn’t want, the one in the terrible colour where you’d like to say to the giver: ‘‘Really, you shouldn’t have!”
But impostor syndrome can still be a gift - if you act on it. That feeling motivates you to improve, and encourages you to be empathetic. In fact, recent research has highlighted that competence and confidence are actually inversely correlated. That is, the more confident you become, the less you improve your competence. Scary stuff considering the types of people most organisations promote. So, my first tip is to write down 5 things, you got better at because of your imposter syndrome. Once you get five, you’ll probably find there’s loads more skills you’ve developed that now feel easy, but only came because you focused on getting better at that skill.
And remember, if Michelle Obama, with her career accolades and amazing arms, can admit to feeling like an imposter ‘most of the time’, while touring with her bestseller ‘Becoming’, then it stands to reason imposter syndrome probably affects most of us.
2. ACCEPT IT’S NOT GOING AWAY
I’ve never met a professional woman who had NO self-doubt. The goal is not to overcome it, it’s simply to work around it. At a workshop I ran for professional females, one of the delegates, a woman with a sciences PhD admitted quietly to the larger group that after her last promotion, she often felt like a fraud. I asked the group who else felt that way at times. Every single hand was raised—much to her relief when she cried out: ‘I thought I was the only one!’
Successful working women have moments, even days of self-doubt … but they still know they can make the most of any situation. So my next tip is to write down the name of someone who’s admitted they’re not always confident, but based on how well they come across - you never would have guessed. Remember, we never know how someone feels - we can only guess based on how someone acts.
3. OWN YOUR ‘IMPOSSIBLE’ WINS
I grew up struggling with maths that defined the way I talked about myself for a long time. So when deciding on how to collect the data for my PhD, I put my big girl pants on, and specifically chose statistical modelling. I knew it would be hard, but I needed to shed my fear of maths or I would always fear it and define myself as ‘Suzanne: She’s a big talker, but don’t ask her a maths question’. As I now begin the daunting task of writing my third book, again, it’s hard but I remind myself: ‘I’ve done this before - and at least this time I’ve already been through the learning curve!’ We often diminish struggles we’ve managed to handle simply because they’re in the ‘rear-view mirror’ of life.
My final tip is to own those wins by writing down a list of what’s in the rear-view mirror of your life that looked impossible before you did it?
If you found this useful, you might want to check out my YouTube channel dedicated to helping professional women get the careers they deserve.
So what’s a USP - or unique selling point?
If you are a woman working in a male dominated field - your USP is that you’re the only woman in the room! That’s a start -and it does have benefits, but you want to be remembered for more than that! So today, I’m going to help you find out what your own personal USP is.
In this video I’ll give you 2 simple practical tips to find your USP.
If you don't want to watch the video... this is what is covers...
1. Find as many examples as you can when people have given you feedback.
Think about 360 feedback, appraisals, letters of recommendation, LinkedIn testimonials, feedback from clients - anything you can get your hands on. Feedback from others is vital because other people’s opinions about us are much more important than what we think of ourselves. We all get fired, hired, or promoted based on what other people think.
2. Gather new feedback. Ask friends, colleagues and clients to describe you in 3 words or phrases.
You might want to ask them for a negative one so you get a rounder picture. I would hope to see an overlap between how friends and colleagues describe you. If you do, it means you’re being authentic in both places.However… if your friends say ‘Hilarious with a wry wit’ but your colleagues say ‘Quiet, and serious’ it means there’s a disconnect, which is something I can help you with. Listen for the keywords people keep using to describe you. When you see a pattern in certain words being repeated - Bingo - that tells you what your USP currently is. That is: how you’re viewed by others - your brand. If you feel that you are not happy with your USP, or you think it needs to change in order to land that dream job, you may want to consider my coaching programme, Pathway to Promotion.
So - you’ve scoured for old feedback, and got some new feedback, and now you’ve got your USP.
Now… use what people say about you to your advantage - it really helps you sell yourself. Whether it’s in a job interview, in a new project meeting, or with new colleagues. For example…I’m excited to be joining this project, colleagues often joke about my eye for detail, so I’m hoping to make myself useful’ ... or ‘I’d love to be considered for this role, as it feels perfect for me. Some of the most common feedback I get is about my creativity and out of the box thinking.' Nowhere have you said ‘Look at me world, I’m practical or detail-oriented’ - you’re letting the feedback you’ve had, do the talking, which makes building your USP authentic - something that’s really important to my coaching clients.
If you’re reading this because you’re on the hunt for a new job, I think you’ll like my video 'Stand out CV's - 6 Simple Steps.'
We have created a condensed six month executive coaching programme to help professional women, but particularly women working in male dominated fields, achieve their career goals.
It’s all done online – combining the best of individual live sessions with video & e-mail support. There are spaces on the programme right now!
If you're not sure executive coaching is your thing, you can book a FREE, no-obligation 30 minute session with Dr Suzanne Doyle Morris, to find out if it's right for you.
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Suzanne Doyle-Morris, Author, Speaker & Gender Balance Expert for 25+ years.
Hear what I told BBC Radio about what to do about the worsening gender pay gap data