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Ghosts and Goblins — in the Office

Ghosts and Goblins — in the Office

Even ghost and goblins come in various shapes, sizes and personalities. Not everyone you work with is Casper the Friendly Ghost.

In honor of Halloween and in preparing for my October 28 webinar on this subject, I am looking for your best practices in managing the ghost and goblins in the workplace. You can submit as many tips as you would like, either by providing several ideas in one Blog or submitting one tip several days during the month of October which would mean you have more chances to win our great prizes!

To start us off, I will tell you about a not-too-scary ghost who I worked with in my early 20s! Please keep in mind, you don’t have to write an entire story (unless you want to); I just want to know how you handle these characters so we can share best practices with admins around the world!

Joan’s Story:
I was working at a large corporation in Cleveland, OH for a Director of Finance. My executive reported to a VP therefore his Executive Assistant, Jeri, was a level above my position. For some reason Jeri had been talking behind my back. How did I know this? Because she was talking about me to someone who liked me and worked in my department. I finally decided to face Jeri head on. Here are steps to use with this type of scenario.

1. Make sure you have all the facts about the situation. I had collected dates and comments as to what was said about me by Jeri.

2. Have a plan before confronting this person. Decide when and where you will talk to them, how you will do this and what you will say. I decided to go up to her work area on another floor when her executive was out of town and asked her to step into his office as I needed to talk to her. I had already rehearsed the words I would use and knew I would sit across from her in a chair.

3. Use non-threatening language. “Jeri, I’ve been made aware of……”

4. Let this ghost or goblin know by your speech, body language and facial expression that you mean business. My body language and tone of voice was one of confidence.

5. Make good eye contact.

6. Let them know that their current behavior is unacceptable.

7. State your expectations for future behavior. My language was probably something like, “Jeri, if you have a problem with me in the future or I have done something to upset you, I expect you to talk directly with me, not behind my back.”

8. If it happens again, confront the ghost again and reiterate what you said the first time. They may very well slide back into their old habits.

Related Reads:
Do-It-Yourself Career Development
Earning Your Rightful Place at the Top
Are You Emotionally Intelligent?
Dying to Get Ahead? 10 Tips for Reinventing Yourself


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