How Can I Shine When Surrounded By Back Biters?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about negative gossip:

I am the one that loves her career! But I work with a few other employees that are lazy and feel the need to joke about what the other artists weaknesses might be, in their opinion… Behind their back–mine included.The problem is I want to shine. This line of work is my world! I get to work early, have come up with great marketing ideas and invested my free time and money into building up my following. meanwhile they just sit around and play with their phones. How do I make these people be intimidated by my work ethic. How can I stand out to my boss? I have been a manager before, and would Like to be considered a key player again.

Signed, On My Way

DearĀ On My Way:

It sounds as though you have positive traits and goals and a strong foundation for being able to shine in your career. What you probably won’t be able to do is intimidate your coworkers with your work ethic. In fact, the more and better you work with that goal in mind, the more likely it is they will resent you or resist your efforts to impress them.Work ethic has to stand on its own. It sounds as though you are truly committed to producing good work and doing it no matter what the circumstances. You do it because that is just the way you are, not for others to see. Enjoy that feeling!

As for how to stand out with your boss, if you are working as you say you are; especially compared to others; you probably already are viewed as a star employee. Talk to your boss about your work and your goals, with a focus on what he or she needs from you and what his or her goals are for the group. Helping someone else accomplish their goals is usually the best way to get support for your own. I often mention the three things it takes to have influence at work: You must be credible (knowledgeable about your work and noted for being truthful and dependable). You must be valuable (a strong contributor in a general sense and also someone who offers something special to the organization and to others). You must communicate effectively (directly, in an appropriate way, in a way that is engaging and interested in others as well as in selling a message.) Check those three regularly to see where you think you stand, not only with your boss but with coworkers.If you want to be a manager, find out the requirements for that position in your company, if that is where you intend to stay. Is there any chance it could happen? What will it take? Can you achieve it with your current education and experience? Once you find that out, you can develop a plan of action that moves you closer that role. A good approach is to think of each day as a test that is being secretly observed by those who will decide about your management role. Then, do the things that you know you would do if they really were observing you. As you know, if you were once chosen for a management role in another organization, being selected for management most often requires more than doing your current job very well; it requires showing that you are doing larger thinking and that you are moving the organization forward in some way. Perhaps you can find a project to champion or you can ask to participate in something that can help you get to know a wide range of others in your business. If there are associations or groups for your profession, consider joining those and becoming a contributor. Find out what upper levels of management value and see if that is a good fit for some things you could accomplish.If you were chosen for management in this current job but were removed for some reason, that will be a challenge to overcome. Discuss the situation with HR or your current boss to see what needs to change for you to have that role again.You mentioned your problematic coworkers. Some of your coworkers may not be productive or effective, but perhaps one or two are. They may like to have someone who supports them and who they can support in turn. If none of them seem to be as focused as you are, just keep your focus on your work and be courteous and civil.

Perhaps you can redirect their negative talk but probably not. It is probably a habit for them to work the way they do and your boss doesn’t require anything more from them. That’s a shame, but nothing you can control right now. Be civil and don’t let a wall develop between you and them, especially if you know you will be working with them as your career grows and changes. Perhaps a goal should be to find another group to work with; one who shares more of your values.Keep a micro focus and a macro focus on your work: Take care of the things that are your responsibility and also contribute to the team when possible. Be the one who helps keep the break room tidy, who looks for ways to save money, who circulates the birthday card or get well card, who offers to assist someone else when possible. Also look at the groups outside your group, your internal and external customers. How can you serve them better and make them feel better about coming to you for assistance? Then, look at your company as a whole and see if there are ways to help it grow or to bring it to the attention of others as a positive place to work. You know best what will be effective in your particular work culture.While you’re doing all of that, remember that you have a big life outside of work. It is sometimes necessary to get to work early, but rarely is it necessary all the time. In fact, it often gives the appearance of trying to show other people up or simply having no life and nothing better to do. Try working regular hours at work and fully enjoying your time away. Increase your fitness activities, spend more time with your family and friends. If you are a parent, your time with your children is more important than even your time at work. If you are not a parent, your time away is still vital and can be used in many fun and positive ways. There will be times when you have to be super-focused on work, but not every day, day after day. Be a whole person; work, play, develop, share, worship or study, nurture and rest.Best wishes to you as you continue with your work and life. If you have the time and wish to do so, let us know of your achievements.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.