A Weekly Q&A Column About Professionalism, Etiquette and Problems in the Workplace
by Sue Morem
Dear Sue: Have you ever noticed that the people who are "good" workers never get any recognition? I've noticed that all of the attention goes to the people who are problem
employees or those who make mistakes.
I am a dedicated worker and follow the rules, which is more than I can say for some of my coworkers, yet no one acknowledges me. How can I feel empowered or motivated when working in a
situation like this?
Sue Says: First of all, give yourself credit for being honorable and making an effort to make your workplace a better place. I can understand how frustrating it must be for you if you
feel your efforts aren't acknowledged.
Some managers realize the importance of positive reinforcement, but others simply expect a person to perform well. You probably need to rely more on yourself, rather than looking to others
If you need feedback, you may have to ask for it. Do your best, put more of your time and energy into your work and spend less time fretting over your coworkers?
Dear Sue: I enjoy working for my company. Employees are given a lot of freedom and flexibility. That's the good news. The bad news is that the independence and empowerment is being
Because of the lack of direct supervision, many of my coworkers end up goofing off and working as little as possible. If this continues, the rest of us who do work will end up having to more
and pick up the slack. I've brought this issue to management's attention, but nothing has changed. Do you have any suggestions?
Sue Says: Your concerns are legitimate, but unless you get support from management, there may not be too much you can do. And if you continue to dwell on what you perceive to be the
shortcomings of others, you may end up hurting yourself in the process. You might be perceived as a troublemaker.
Try talking with your coworkers about your concerns. Don't accuse or blame anyone, but express your feelings about what you see happening, and the possibility of losing the freedom all of you
have if it is abused.
Try to focus on the positive things you see happening, and don't let the things you can't control take away from the enjoyment you say you get working for this company.
Dear Sue: I am very shy and have a difficult time speaking in front of others. Whenever anyone questions something I did, I don't even defend myself because my mind goes blank. I have
a lot to say, but I just don't react quickly enough.
The problem is that I can tell people are getting irritated with me. What should I do?
Sue Says: Many people are shy and have found ways to overcome their shyness. You have identified a problem, which is always a first step toward resolving it.
When you are caught off guard and feel tongue-twisted, rather than feeling pressured to respond, let the person know you need a little time to gather your thoughts. Explain that you have a
lot to say, but just need a little time to respond.
It will also help if you work on building your confidence by taking some type of communication or self-improvement class.
Sue Morem is a professional speaker, trainer and syndicated columnist. She
is author of the newly released
101 Tips for Graduates and
How to Gain the Professional Edge, Second Edition. You can contact her by email at
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her web site at
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