Before, during and after the lockdown as well as in telework mode, there are sticky situations when even an experienced professional, like you, is left stumped to the point of scratching his head, in search of the appropriate words and gestures. In anticipation of these possibly paralyzing situations, here are solutions to help you shine confidence and credibility while avoiding negative consequences that could affect your reputation. This article also includes solutions for knowing what to say and do when you are the boss.
I– MY BOSS WANTS TO BE MY FACEBOOK FRIEND
Even if everyone says it, including yourself, “Our team is like a family”, you may wish to maintain your online social distances to preserve your privacy bubble.
How to refuse this invitation, without hurting your boss and without hindering your professional relationship?
You may be well aware of the importance of developing organizational policies that clearly outline principles as well as strategies, with detailed procedures. Inspired by this method, write your personal policy for your social media presence. Decide what categories of people you want to connect with and which of your networks is most appropriate for each type of exchange. Such a policy makes it easy for you to accept, or not, a connection request.
While you’re in front of your screen, adjust your social media settings to reflect your policy.
As for the current request, start by ignoring it. Give your boss the benefit of the doubt and assume that this request was impulsive, in the effervescence of the moment. If he “pokes” you, depending on the settings you have set up and the category you have assigned your boss to, you will be in control of what is seen.
If he asks you or even teases you as to why, you can always say something like, “I’m a pretty reserved person. I only share my Facebook page with my family and close friends. If you wish, we can connect to LinkedIn. I am quite active there and I learn a lot from my contacts. I believe you too could make mutually beneficial connections on that platform”.
IF YOU ARE THE BOSS
Unless participating on social is part of your responsibilities, àmanagers, executives and others in positions of authority are discouraged from making a “friend” request to their subordinates. These solicitations may create perceptions related to the power you hold and that can affect an employee’s employment and future abilities.
When you are invited, again here too, it is better to refuse. Refer to the above reasoning.
AS AN HR PROFESSIONAL
Your role is to develop a social media policy and above all to educate managers and employees on what constitutes fair and appropriate use. It is also your responsibility to clearly state the consequences of not following these guidelines.
II- MY BOSS OFFERED A CERTIFICATE OF MERIT TO MY COLLEAGUE FOR THE PROJECT THAT I LEAD
Oh la la, this is a tough one! As tempting as it may be to act out of indignation, hold back and breathe. This delicate situation deserves a strategy before taking action. Breathe again.
Plan what to say to say to your boss by first setting up a private meeting. Your goal is not to point fingers at your colleague, but rather to present the traces of the project. You want to highlight your contributions objectively. Present the facts, the dates, the excerpts and emails. Be wise and choose the most convincing elements.
Start your one-on-one meeting by announcing that what you have to discuss is sensitive. “What I have to say is difficult. Recognition was given to another person for a project I designed and that I lead.” Give your boss the opportunity to absorb the news. When invited, display one, two or three proofs of your creation. Answer questions, objectively, by sticking to facts without denigrating your colleague or his contributions. Be patient. If necessary, conclude with a sentence like: “I know that what I have just announced to you may require some thought. I understand that the situation can be tricky. I will keep it between us you inform of a decision. ”
IF YOU ARE THE BOSS
Once you are convinced that a merit error has occurred, you must give credit to whom it may concern. Invite the “false” recipient to a meeting. “We made a mistake when giving the awards. We now recognize that the project you received a certificate for was lead by -name the person. We are sorry for this misunderstanding. We will make an announcement to rectify the situation”. There is no point in making accusations of dishonesty. If the employee apologizes or acknowledges the mistake, thank them for their integrity.
III – I AM INVITED TO SOCIALIZE OUTSIDE OF MY PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES AND I DO NOT WISH TO PARTICIPATE
It is perfectly appropriate to simply decline an invitation. “Thank you for including me, but it will not be possible for me to join you. I already have a commitment.” If you so desire, add details on the reasons for your impediment.
If you are being pushed to find out the reason for your refusal, be honest. You can simply respond, “I already have a commitment. ”
Again, develop your own policy for participating in activities outside of your workplace. Define the types of activities as well as the types of relationships you are willing to have. This strategy will facilitate your decisions, without the perception of favoritism and discrimination. It will also ensure that you do not miss an opportunity to connect and contribute to the consolidation of the team. The important thing is to be consistent and fair.
IV- I MISSED A MEETING
It happens, occasionally. Even the most perfect of professionals may forget or skip adding a meeting to their schedule. Don’t beat yourself up too hard. Forgive yourself and don’t do it again.
Take your responsibilities as quickly as possible to restore the trust that is placed in you. Apologize. “I am really sorry. I forgot.” Don’t complain about your burden, workload or stress. Don’t make up an excuse. Find out what you missed and what actions you need to take. Then, deliver on them.
If you have time to join the meeting before ends, apologize when joining, without a long explanation. Participate, present and make sure you meet the deadlines that are imposed on you.
If it was a two-person private interview, ask for a second chance. If granted, be on time.
If this happens to you regularly, schedule a weekly date with yourself on Friday afternoons to plan your meetings for the following week.
V– YOU CONSIDER A LOVING RELATIONSHIP AT THE OFFICE
If your organization has a firm policy in place on this subject and it prohibits any romantic dating between employees, you must act accordingly and abstain or be transparent by announcing your relationship to your supervisor, once your emotional ties are official.
If no policy is in place and you are considering a romantic relationship with a colleague, a client or a member of your business community, assess the risks. There could be some conflicts of interest. Your reputation could be affected. You might be hurt or offended by that person. Your judgment in favour of this person could be tinted by your commitment to your team or, conversely, the commitment you have to the team could be tinted by your relationship with this person.
Once you’ve assessed the risks, listen to your heart and follow the rules, which could include finding another job.
No matter what the situation is, however unusual it may be, it is always appropriate that you give yourself a period of reflection before deciding or taking action. “Hmmm, this one is a first for me. I have never been in a situation like this. I’ll have to think it over and get back to you.”
In the majority of cases, your honesty, your willingness to apologize when appropriate and your ability to continue your activities calmly and professionally, and sometimes your ability to laugh at yourself, will positively contribute to your image as a professional and of a human being capable of evolving.
Translated from La référence of the Ordre des conseillers en ressources humaines du Québec published July 21st, 2020 © Julie Blais Comeau