14 Ways to Guarantee the Women in Your Life Are Happy

guarantee-women-happy

When this post first published it was Valentine’s Day, a day when men across the nation try to guarantee the women in their lives are happy. Extra happy.

You know who you are. You buy flowers and chocolates and make reservations at fancy restaurants, which is lovely.

But the truth is, for most women, small everyday actions are the way to their hearts. This goes for women in your personal life, as well as, in your professional life.

With that in mind, here are 14 ways to guarantee the women in your workplace are happy:

1. Be authentic in every interaction. Nothing creates awkwardness like a coworker who thinks you’re trying to be something you’re not.

2. Use the right phrase. If a woman in your workplace says she had a bad day, don’t try to fix it. Ask her if she wants to talk about it. (For more tips on the right things to say, check out my Love Deck which is a set of flash cards with scenarios and best and appropriate responses.)

3. Listen. Ask more questions in conversations, and comment to show you’re engaged and interested.

4. Don’t worry about how others perceive you. Focus on building relationships and learning from your coworkers to create the best possible results.

5. Praise coworkers on their professional abilities or share a technique that’s brought you success. Remember tip 3–listen more than talk.

6. Identify topics to talk about like world news, culture and industry trends rather than relying on typical small talk about work and sports. The family is always a safe area. Parents love to talk about their kids, and this can provide you with common ground to bond over.

7. Don’t view attractive female colleagues as something to be avoided (or pursued). Think of them as sisters or girls you grew up with and treat them like anyone else.

8. Don’t assume your new female contact is less accomplished or educated or needs your assistance. What you might view as “help” might be perceived as condescension. Get to know her background and treat her as a peer, not a subordinate.

9. Women prefer to discuss solutions as a team. Be prepared to brainstorm and gather ideas. The process is as important as the outcome.

10. Thoughtful gestures will go a long way. Remembering a birthday or grabbing your colleague a cup of coffee when you’re getting one for yourself will be greatly appreciated.

11. Be aware that women communicate differently than men do. They may suggest a solution when asking a question.

12. Women sometimes view competition as negative, especially with other women. You might want to instigate more of a win-win policy in the team.

13. Think before you make jokes or use humor that might be offensive. If you question saying it at all, it’s probably not a good idea.

14. When asking a female colleague to do a task for you, you might take a less authoritative approach and instead ask her for help. This will be perceived as more collaborative.

Remember, most of your coworkers want to minimize awkward moments, too. Authentic and positive work relationships benefit everyone. And, if you reach out to women in your workplace and industry in a thoughtful and respectful way, that’s exactly what you’ll build.

A version of this post was first published on Inc.

Image: Pexels by Bruce Mars 

 

 

5 Ways to Rekindle Your Passion at Work

Work Happiness

‘Tis the season of love. But has your relationship with your work been stuck in a rut? Do you dread Mondays? Do you groan when you look at your emails? Are you always working for the weekend? If so, let me show you five ways to rekindle your passion at work.

Like with people, many fall in and out of love with their jobs. We start in that honeymoon phase, but as the novelty wears off and the responsibilities grow, we can begin to go through the motions and see only the negatives.

If you feel this way, you’re not alone. A 2015 Gallup poll found that only 32 percent of us are engaged at work. That means our relationship with our jobs needs some work.

So, this Valentine’s Day, try one or all of these five ways to rekindle your passion at work:

1. Go outside your comfort zone.

People get bored with their work once they’ve mastered it. As human beings, we need to be challenged. We need excitement to energize ourselves. So, take on a new responsibility, like a project outside your usual scope or learn a new skill. I’ve also found that working with new people and attending conferences can kick my enthusiasm up several notches.

2. Make a small change.

Routines are great, but they also feed the boredom I’ve mentioned before. Good news is, even the smallest change can refresh our outlooks on our jobs. Cleaning out or redecorating your workspace can reinvigorate. So, can taking a new route to work or altering your schedule (ask if you can work 8 to 4 instead of 9 to 5 so you can hit the gym after instead of before).

3. Think back to that honeymoon phase.

What attracted you to this job in the first place? Get out that job description (and your impressive resume) and reflect on the positives, including how much you’ve grown. Doing this may also illuminate some forgotten dreams or goals, too. Was part of the reason why you wanted this job to travel more or less, take advantage of benefits like paid graduate school, or even to try a new hobby? Do you still need to do this?

4. Realize what you can fix.

A lot of why we aren’t engaged with work is because we’re frustrated. Write down what’s bugging you and then mark what you can change. If you don’t like the typical review process of a project, suggest an alternate solution. If your schedule is too unpredictable, set boundaries with your superior. Some things may be out of our control, but some things may just need you to speak up.

6. Have a wandering eye.

Sometimes all it takes to appreciate what we have is to think about losing it. So look at other job opportunities. Recruiters exclusively use LinkedIn today, beef up your profile and respond to a few requests. Even go on an interview, and focus on how you’re feeling. Will you miss the people or the work? Or are you filled with excitement about the change? If you’re incredibly excited, then it might be time to try something new.

Like most relationships, our relationship with our jobs needs constant attention and work. We can take it for granted. So, try one or all of these things this Valentine’s Day and see if you might be able to rekindle that passion at work.

A version of this post was first published on Inc.