Best interpersonal tips for the workplace of 2013

Every December, as the year draws to a close, I condense the most important advice I've given over the past year. Here's wishing that you start off your New Year loaded with presents that will help you be present to all of the opportunities waiting for you in 2014!

Good things come to those who ask! Forget about waiting and suffering patiently waiting for people at work to notice what you deserve. Make a list this year (and check it twice) of specifically what you want on the job.

Go ahead and get mad (internally) but then use your anger to take the risk to go after your goals. Emotions are supposed to provide the gas to take you down the highway you want, and getting even is less satisfying than getting results.

Stop taking other people's behavior personally. Almost everything everyone is doing has nothing to do with you. Before you react like you are being personally attacked, ask yourself to consider alternative explanations that are not about you. Now act as if your alternative explanation is true and watch your effectiveness blossom!

Next time you have a "Big Problem" at work, let your emotions wash over you without getting upset that you are upset. Now settle into realizing that work and life are just one big problem after another. The sooner you can swim in your emotions, the sooner you can think about solutions and fix the problem.

Don't imagine that good, smart, or worthy people don't have big problems. On the contrary, good, smart and worthy people don't waste a lot of time blaming themselves for having problems. They know that life and work are problem-generating machines that teach us creativity, resiliency and courage.

Next time you have any problem, use the "Football Replay" theory of interpersonal effectiveness. Rewind the video of the situation that just happened, watch the video closely, and ask yourself is there anything you could have done that would have avoided this experience. Blaming yourself for problems is useless, but allowing yourself to be educated by problems is priceless.

Before the new year starts, ask yourself what you would do this year if you had a guarantee you would not fail. Now make a plan to go after that goal. On your deathbed, you'll rest easier with the experience of failure than the knowledge you never even tried!

Make a list of people that make you angry. Now imagine a world in which you have absolutely everything you wanted. Look at the list and consider who you would still be mad at. Now consider that taking the steps to make yourself happy is way more powerful than feeling victimized by people behaving badly.

Cultivate comfort with your jealousy of exceptional people. You can only hang out with eagles and learn to fly yourself if you can handle the pain of feeling inferior.

On New Year's Eve, make a toast to yourself that this year you will be your own guardian angel in 2014. No one is more deserving of your support, your understanding and your advocacy than the person you see in the mirror every morning! No one knows better what you want and no one is more capable of getting it for you than you.

(Daneen Skube, Ph.D., executive coach, trainer, therapist and speaker, also appears as the FOX Channel's "Workplace Guru" each Monday morning. She's the author of "Interpersonal Edge: Breakthrough Tools for Talking to Anyone, Anywhere, About Anything" (Hay House, 2006). You can contact Dr. Skube at or 1420 NW Gilman Blvd., #2845, Issaquah, WA 98027. Sorry, no personal replies.)





Look for this special section in your
Baltimore Sun newspaper on Dec. 29, 2013.
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