How to keep your spirits high when you feel ignored at work

Feeling ignored at work

During your care-free college years, it can be hard to understand how tough it is to be the best employee in an organisation. In the workplace, you have to not only work hard, but also know how to get along well with your peers, so that they become your support in difficult times. It’s not always easy to form good working relationships with your peers, and it can require a great deal of time and effort.

Sometimes it’s difficult to get your voice heard above those of your team mates. Even if you are working hard towards accomplishing the desired goals, you can feel sidelined and unappreciated at times. You start to wonder what makes people so disrespectful, so that they never hear or notice what you say or ask them to do.

Before you confront your colleagues, however, step back and take a deep breath. Think about what might be affecting the rest of your team. People may have heard what you want them to do, but have not quite mastered the art of doing it yet. People who are already are struggling to do their job, or take control of their time may well be less inclined to pay you the right amount of attention when you try to make conversation or ask for their help.

Here are five steps to help you develop resilience and patience while working with others.

Recognise and Validate Your Feelings

Before you get into the workplace, take time to understand how you feel and what is going inside yourself. People take control of their emotional states in different ways. Some disconnect with their physical location and go deep inside themselves to examine their mental state. Others use physical; exercise to sort out their thoughts. Many discover what is going in their minds by writing their feelings down on a piece of paper.

Whatever method you choose, use it to figure out the answers to the following important questions:

– Is my interpretation of the situation correct, is the other person unable to help me, or has he simply forgotten what I asked him to do?

– What is my emotional response to the situation? For instance, is it guilt, resignation or anger? Is it justified?

– Whom should I blame? Should I blame myself for not communicating things perfectly? Or should I blame the other person for not following what I asked?

– What is the wisest step to take next? For example, should I set up a one-to-one meeting, or sort it out through a wider group involvement?

Avoid Judgment

We can feel anything we like but we do not always have the right to judge. Judgment is often a terrible move to make, especially when you do not understand the total picture. So address your emotions carefully without denying them, otherwise they will accumulate and prevent you from finding possible solutions. A good idea to help you avoid judging a person or situation too impulsively is to disengage yourself from your emotions as much as you can and handle the situation from a distance.

Start by assuming that there was a good reason for the colleague/team member not to undertake the task or listen to you properly. Then focus on discovering the best ways to find out what those reasons are, and how you can help put things right.

Ask Questions

Before you start complaining about your colleague or suggesting solutions, speak to the person and allow him time to explain. Your opening question could be, ‘’I have noticed that you have not replied to my emails. Can you please explain what is happening?’’

The answer might surprise you. For example, long hours might have kept the employee so busy that he had to work until 10pm. Your 5pm reminder email was therefore no longer visible to him. Or it might have moved into his spam folder and been overlooked.

Now explain your side and say how the error made you feel, for example, “Since you did not reply to my emails, I thought you did not respect what I said. Now let’s look at the solutions together.’’

Work Together on a Solution

Brainstorming is a good idea to find out the solutions. For example:

Manager: “It seems that you sometimes forget to check your e-mail at the end of the day. Then you don’t see the relevant reminders, is that correct?”

Ask the person how they might be reminded to check next time. They might suggest updating an email calendar or having a pad of post-it notes on their desk. If the team member then suggests having the reminder on his phone, then this should be a reasonable solution for both of you.

Define a Follow-Up

Once the solution has been decided, define in writing how you will follow up on it and what consequences there will be if the plan does not work.

By working together on communication problems like these, you can keep everyone’s spirits high and stay calm. Listen to each other to find the solutions. You cannot control what people do, but you can certainly control your own emotional response.

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How to dress for success

These days, there are no hard and fast rules for choosing office wear. There was a time when women had to wear stockings, even in the height of summer, with no bare legs. It used to be mandatory for men to wear a jacket whenever they left the office building for lunch.

However, what you wear still holds a lot of importance, despite the fact that business attire has become much more relaxed over time. Whether you are going for an interview or are already an employee somewhere, you have to pay attention to what you are wearing.  Observing the correct professional dress code during an interview is the first step but after then, adhering to the organizational dress culture afterwards will help you be successful in your career in the longer term.

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So what should you choose?

For an interview

First, find out what the dress code is. Now make an effort to look even better. But make sure you don’t over-dress so that you feel uncomfortable or awkward. If you arrive over-dressed in a casual environment then could jeopardise you chances of selection. In this case, wear something smart; e.g. men should go for a decent pair of trousers and open neck shirt. Ladies should choosefor a nice skirt and top. It’s always better to avoid denim and t-shirts.

For the office

A wardrobe full of expensive clothes is not always possible to begin with. If you have just entered the corporate world, start from scratch and build up your wardrobe gradually , choosing good quality basics and classic attire.  If you have limited funds or time, start with a small, capsule wardrobe instead.

  • Do not pick clothes solely on the basis of fashion – select classic that will last.
  • Look out for bargains. There are many shops which offer great clothes at lower prices. Do your research before shopping and always check the good brands, since they often hold sales. Also, read instructions for washing before buying to make sure they are not too costly to maintain.
  • Girls may smarten up with scarves, a little bit of jewellery and an embellished top. Men can achieve a professional look for less by wearing good quailty ties with less expensive shirts.
  • If your clothes do not fit properly, they can look cheap. So always invest in alterations.
  • Go for natural fabrics such as wool, cotton, linen and silk and not man-made fabrics. Avoid polyester.
  • Choose dresses which can be worn in different seasons.

You need to put effort in other things as well as good clothing. Women should choose  ‘moderate’ shoes without overly-long, spiky heels. Jewellery should not be over the top. Hair should be neat and tidy and you should never look as if you are on your way to a party. Wear make-up and perfume but keep it restrained and always have manicured nails.

Men should go for dark socks, decent, polished shoes, a well-groomed hairstyle, mild aftershave and clean, trimmed nails.

Healthy Conflict at Work

resolving conflict at workAvoiding conflict at work is not always a good idea, and it could even damage your career. Many career experts seem to agree on this point.

People who say ‘’yes’’ to everything are not always the best kind of colleague. Managers believe that such passive employees kill productivity, innovation and creativity. Workplace cultures normally do not welcome personality traits such as unhappiness or anger, nor people who love to spread gossip. But workers who challenge the status quo are always good to have around to keep things fresh in the workplace.

When conflict is healthy, it sparks competition, drives innovation and facilitates change. A culture where individuals regularly challenge the norm helps everyone get ahead in their careers.

So when can one have conflict and be justified?

A healthy debate:

Suppose, you do not agree when someone has recommended something. First see if you’re in a position to disagree with them. If you are, then make sure your argument has logic. Also listen to what other people are saying; listen to them and the pros and cons of thier point of view. In response, you can then present how you think about things. This whole situation then turns into a healthy debate, which is good for business.

Prevention of major quarrels:

It’s not appropriate to stick stubbornly to your argument when the other party is also not flexible enough to change theirs. It’s extremely important that a solution is found and the conflict managed in the right way without any quarrels. So just take a step back and see if you could be in the wrong and think about the differences you have with the other party. Do so before it’s too late and before they take more aggressive steps against you.

To strengthen collaboration:

When you challenge people’s thoughts and ideas, you should explore what they think and why, as well as why they act the way they do. If you can overcome the difficulty via a valuable discussion, you can strengthen the working relationship, along with presenting a solution for the project or task in hand. So you need to pro-actively manage the disagreement. A team which successfully resolves disagreements and disparity can actually become more productive and stronger than before.

Providing opportunities:

It’s rare for one individual to have all the answers. In business, it’s not possible for one employee to foresee all the challenges and issues that the organisation will encounter. Conflict helps mitigate against the drawbacks and to work towards the right solution. The whole process is very effective for one’s growth  too, as one develops new opinions, thoughts and ideas.

Do not fear conflict

Accept the fact that conflict is a normal part of the working day. Respect to other people’s feelings and thoughts. Control your emotions and maintain professionalism. Concentrate on the facts while you present your argument and  give full recognition to other people’s contributions and opinions. Watch your words and body language too.