Archive for ◊ March, 2011 ◊

• Monday, March 28th, 2011

ASK THE STRATEGIST: Copycat Coworker
March 28, 2011

Dear ATS: I have a coworker who copies everything I do – how I talk and the clothes I wear. We were cool at first, but now I try not to associate with her unless I have to. She even changed her hair to how I used to wear mine. How can I get her to stop and let me be me? – Anonymous, Maryland

An old adage says imitation is the best form of flattery. We humans tend to like it when people embrace us and want to emulate our ways of thinking, values, and even our physical characteristics. However, when imitation goes beyond our comfort zone and becomes “weird,” what was once flattering can start to feel freaky.

Since your quest for advice primarily focuses on your coworker’s penchant for imitating your appearance, I assume that your coworker still acknowledges the boundaries insofar as work performance, i.e. not taking credit for your work, or throwing a temper tantrum if she is not partnered with you on a project.

Your coworker may be a young person who respects and admires how you present yourself in the workplace and merely wants to emulate it. If the employee seems harmless, then say nothing and let her infatuation drift off in time.

If her fawning severely impedes your productivity on the job, then you may want to talk, gently, with her over lunch. If you are good at humor, presenting your concerns in a light-hearted manner may be most effective. Whatever you do, avoid appearing as if you are chastising her, which inevitably will make your coworker defensive. If she makes you feel uncomfortable to the point that your gut instinct is telling you there is a potentially more dangerous issue, including stalking, you may want to talk to your human resources representative or an immediate supervisor for intervention or workplace training.

Good luck, and keep us posted.
THE STRATEGIST

Ask The Strategist - every Monday at 7:00 p.m. EST on Twitter @atstrategist

DISCLAIMER: ASK THE STRATEGIST is an advice column that seeks to address business, career, workplace, and etiquette issues. Any advice dispensed by The Strategist is purely for informational and entertainment purposes. Take the advice and opinions at your own risk – and betterment! Follow us on Twitter @atstrategist. Post your question/email your conundrum/send your video to ask@ksgsc.com. All submissions become the property of ASK THE STRATEGIST. Join ASK THE STRATEGIST on Twitter every Monday at 7:00 p.m. EST. Tweet me @atstrategist.

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• Monday, March 14th, 2011
ASK THE STRATEGIST: Get Yourself a Support System!
March 14, 2011
 
This week, Ask The Strategist is reprinting an updated blog entry that is one of my most viewed (originally appeared on our blog on August 12, 2009), and one that I think we could all use right now: Get Yourself a Support System. Read on…
During a recent conversation with a friend, we talked a bit about friends and family supporting goals, whether it’s a business, desire to sing professionally, or any other goal we dreamers tend to have. I shared with her a lesson I learned long ago: surround yourself with like-minded individuals who, even if they cannot relate to your dream, will at least support your efforts.

Here are some tips to help you develop your own support system:

Create your support system wish list: Do you want to align with someone in your professional field or industry, or would you like support from someone outside of it (perhaps to minimize perceived competition)? Would you like a mentor who encourages you to reach your goals, or a person who merely listens when you need an ear? Do I want someone who has a “tough love” approach and can motivate me, or is someone whose gentle approach best exhorts me to strive toward the next level (professionally, personally, or spiritually)?

My original wish list, which I wrote about 15 years ago, included three individuals who were exemplars in their careers, had strong character, and were willing to devote the time to mentor me. Two of those individuals still remain on my support system list and are good friends.

Build your support system: Once you have built your wish list, start building your team! You should identify each person’s strength that will help you become better – professionally and personally. For example, you may need extra motivation. Someone whose ability to rev you up when you are running out of steam is vital. Perhaps, you need advice when you feel you have exhausted all options and need a different perspective on your situation. An analytical person who supports your efforts is perfect. Your support system can include people in your family, but should also include those who have specific areas of expertise, or can provide unique insight. You do not need a posse of people, just a small group of cheerleaders who have your best interests at heart.

One of my most valuable supporters is a former supervisor who took a keen interest in my professional growth, provided opportunities for me to learn and contribute in the workplace, and was a sounding board for my ideas – no matter how far-reaching they may have seemed.

Appreciate your team: Remember to show appreciation for those who share sage advice, are always there when you need someone to listen, and are your unwavering cheerleading team. A verbal act of appreciation, or a note of thanks is always a good idea. Invite your team to lunch, tea, or dinner to thank them in person.

As you achieve your goals, and reach new heights in your professional and personal accomplishments, remember to be a support system to someone else. Pay it forward!

Good luck, and keep us posted.
THE STRATEGIST

 

Ask The Strategist - every Monday at 7:00 p.m. EST on Twitter @atstrategist

DISCLAIMER: ASK THE STRATEGIST is an advice column that seeks to address business, career, workplace, and etiquette issues. Any advice dispensed by The Strategist is purely for informational and entertainment purposes. Take the advice and opinions at your own risk – and betterment! Follow us on Twitter @atstrategist. Post your question/email your conundrum/send your video to ask@ksgsc.com. All submissions become the property of ASK THE STRATEGIST.

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• Monday, March 07th, 2011

ASK THE STRATEGIST: Advice for the Divorcing Couple

March 7, 2011

Dear ATS: My husband and I are in the process of going through a divorce (only our close family members know). He has a very high profile job and we often host dinner parties and events for his clients and executives from his job. The trouble is we are hosting a party for some potential international clients in a few weeks and our relationship has gone from bad to worse – he has technically moved out of the house. My question is considering that we are splitting up, should I still host the event with him? – A.E., New York, NY

Going through a separation or divorce is hard enough, but being in close proximity during an intimate event when no one knows how bad the situation is, can make co-hosting trickier.

Have you spoken to your husband about your trepidation? Having a conversation, perhaps in a coffee shop or other non-threatening environment, will help you articulate how you are feeling about hosting such an important event while you are at a marital crossroads. If you feel as though you would both end up in an embarrassing disagreement during the soiree, tell him! If you decide to host the party, make a pact that you will not engage in hurtful verbal or nonverbal behavior – no insults, silent treatment, or staring competitions – during the evening. It will definitely put off your guests and potentially jeopardize the pending deal.

Ultimately, you have to decide if spending a few hours in a potentially uncomfortable environment is out of your comfort zone – and worth the sacrifice. If you choose not to go through with it, though, let yourself off the hook. Sometimes it is better to not play along and give the appearance that everything is okay. Remember, if the guests become clients, they will expect to see you at all future corporate events. Are you okay with that?

Good luck, and keep us posted.

THE STRATEGIST

DISCLAIMER: ASK THE STRATEGIST is an advice column that seeks to address business, career, workplace, and etiquette issues. Any advice dispensed by The Strategist is purely for informational and entertainment purposes. Take the advice and opinions at your own risk – and betterment! Follow us on Twitter @atstrategist. Post your question/email your conundrum/send video to ask@ksgsc.com. All submissions become the property of ASK THE STRATEGIST.

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