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Developing thick skin at work


Business and Professional Relationships Networking and maintaining a positive environment in the work place is important! Surviving the 9-to-5 within.

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Old 8th July 2017, 4:14 AM   #1
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Developing thick skin at work

Any tips on thickening your skin at work? I guess not thick skin hogre like CEO? When do you take it in stride vs imediately defending yourself? Scenarios...
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Old 8th July 2017, 6:49 AM   #2
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At work you look at the source of the criticism. If it's from somebody who has the power to fire you, then you pay attention & ask how you can improve. Even if you think you were right, if it wasn't to the bosses' satisfaction it wasn't perfect. If the criticism is from a lateral, you assess it's validity. If it's accurate implement the suggested change & say thank you. If it's sour grapes or worse, listen then walk away silently. Let the other person feel heard but go back to what you were doing.
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Old 8th July 2017, 11:36 AM   #3
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Unless it's the boss, counter attack.

Collegue in front of others: "You come in late all the time."

Me: "You should talk! I saw you coming in at 12pm yesterday".

Collegue: "I was coming back from lunch!"

Me: "Riiiiight"

*mental reminder* never be late and watch my back.
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Old 10th July 2017, 11:36 AM   #4
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For myself I see it as my "work persona" and then my "real persona". The work one has pieces of my real one but it's not all the same. So when I get hit at work I don't take it personally since they don't actually know me.

And honestly I look at the source, see what is being said, try and seek understanding and don't immediately "own" the criticism though stay humble and own what I feel is appropriate.

At the end of the day I try and do the best job that I can and that is about all I can do.
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Old 10th July 2017, 12:21 PM   #5
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One of Don Miguel Ruiz's Four Agreements is - Don't Take Anything Personally.

In any situation. Realize other people's opinions and behaviors are not about you. What they say and do is really about them. When you can separate yourself from what they say or do - simply focus on doing the best you can do - then you release yourself from suffering about what they say or do.

I was fortunate learn this early in my sales career. I was denied and told no in seemingly the harshest and cruelest ways at times. Fortunately, an older and wiser salesperson told me I was taking things too personally. Tying too hard to be accepted or "right". Once I let that go and simply did the best I could to serve the customer - no matter what they decided - I became an outstanding salesperson. See, it's not about me. My job is simply to do my best.

I also love to play poker. One thing many good poker players try to avoid is "tilting". Responding emotionally to anything that happens at the poker table. Anything. Thus, the poker face.

I just spent a week with a group of people. Some that can be difficult to deal with. The whole week I was mentally telling "don't tilt" when some were being annoying or provocative. Don't take it personally. I made it a game. Fun. Passed with flying colors. Today, nothing that was said or done to annoy me matters. And there is no instance of me responding negatively to anything that can be used against me. Because I didn't tilt.

Practice not taking things personally. It'll serve you well.
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Old 11th July 2017, 1:58 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by FastHands View Post
Any tips on thickening your skin at work? I guess not thick skin hogre like CEO? When do you take it in stride vs imediately defending yourself? Scenarios...
The best way is to become an expert in your area of business/school, etc. whatever it may be.

If you're an expert in your area, you'll know you bring value to the company. If you have a good perception of the value you'll bring, you'll naturally have more confidence and the attacks of others will be seen as petty. Unfortunately many people have their own interests in mind and a lot of people, especially in hyper political environments like the corporate world, will try to undermine you. They may be seeking to determine how easily they can manipulate you, or they may be attacking you because they're jealous or they see you as competition. If they didn't see you as a threat, they wouldn't waste their time. It's all about discerning someone's true intentions and having confidence in the value you bring to the situation. One good thing about a loud mouth is at least you know they are telling you what they think, face to face. You can know it was said behind your back, first, but at least they eventually said it to you. I would recommend what MidKnight said, to hold back and let them show their cards. Keep your counter for the right place and time. Revenge is a dish best served cold. For example, in a sales environment, someone can talk trash all they want, but if you're the top in sales, what can they really say? You are winning in what matter's most to the company. Become an expert. Excel in the company. Ignore the haters, or at the very least see what you can learn from them. Silence them by excelling past their accomplishments. The best revenge is success.

Now, if you are talking about a mentor who is trying to help you improve, that is a different story. Mentors are critiquing out of love, not jealousy.
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Last edited by TheFinalWord; 11th July 2017 at 2:11 AM..
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Old 11th July 2017, 3:08 AM   #7
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Any tips on thickening your skin at work?

As others have said, don't take anything personally.

I used to work for the NHS as a health-care professional, so I got it in the neck from all sides, bosses, colleagues and patients.

Each had their own set of gripes depending on the situation at the time.

Bosses - if they critcise your performance, turn it around on them. Ask them, "How would you like this done?" and let them direct you. Don't be scared to ask for more training.
I had a boss who was always dumping more and more work on us and if I complained I got the usual "No-one else is complaining", "Everyone else can do it", "No-one else has any problems with it".
My response "It seems I am lacking a skill here, perhaps you could arrange for me to observe Mary, so I can see how she does it?"
"Maybe you can have a look at my programme and see how I can make it more efficient?"
Remember is the duty of your boss (in UK) to make sure that you have the necessary skills to do the work. If they introduce new working practices then they should be providing additional training for those that request it.

Clients/patients should be handled with care. Let's face it, if we didn't have them we'd be out of a job!
Again, remember, that their complaint isn't a personal attack on you. They see you as the first point of contact in an organisation and often unload on you.
There are plenty of articles available about how to handle customer complaints so I won't repeat them here.

Colleagues are people you work with - end of.
They are not your friends and you aren't obliged to like them. However, you need to be professional in all your dealings with them.
If you make a mistake and inadvertently cause them inconvenience, apologise immediately and ask them what you can do to put the matter right. You apology should disarm them. If they continue to make a three act drama about it, acknowledge that they are upset and say that you'd be happy to discuss it with them when they are able to tell you calmly what you can do to help. Then you walk away.

Your salary does not require you to be shouted at or verbally abused by anyone.

If they make some comment about coming back late for lunch, look them straight in the eye and ask them "How does that affect you?" They'll probably be stumped for an answer. When they can't come up with anything say "I guess it doesn't affect you then" and walk off.

If they make sarcastic or snide remarks just ignore them.
If they say something particularly nasty, look them straight in the eye, say nothing but pretend to be flicking a piece of (imaginary) fluff off the front of your clothes. if they ask you what you are doing say "Oh, I thought something nasty just hit me, my mistake" and walk away.
They'll get the message.

The bottom line is, if you are doing your job to the best of your ability and have excellent time-keeping, then no-one should have any reason to make negative comments about your performance.

HTH
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Old 13th July 2017, 12:48 PM   #8
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Any tips on thickening your skin at work? I guess not thick skin hogre like CEO? When do you take it in stride vs imediately defending yourself? Scenarios...
Why not just do your work and get what needs to be done. I say be more productive that you can be. I do that daily and my manager is so shocked in my performance. Like today he said wow you keep this up we'll all go out after work to get drinks.! I said sure I would like that and if you like what I am doing why not give me award cert. He said sure not a problem! See you have too give a little and show them you can do more than you can. I can always push myself if I wanted too at work. The job I do is funny though, but it's a job and I rather to it than stay at home all day.. It's good to get out and meet other people and help your team mates be more productive too! Cheer them on!

Don't listen to others that try to cause you issues at work! It's you that is important it's all about you at work and no one else matters except for you! Remember that!

Have a great day when you get back to work!
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Old 24th July 2017, 1:17 AM   #9
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Why not just do your work and get what needs to be done. I say be more productive that you can be. I do that daily and my manager is so shocked in my performance. Like today he said wow you keep this up we'll all go out after work to get drinks.! I said sure I would like that and if you like what I am doing why not give me award cert. He said sure not a problem! See you have too give a little and show them you can do more than you can. I can always push myself if I wanted too at work. The job I do is funny though, but it's a job and I rather to it than stay at home all day.. It's good to get out and meet other people and help your team mates be more productive too! Cheer them on!

Don't listen to others that try to cause you issues at work! It's you that is important it's all about you at work and no one else matters except for you! Remember that!

Have a great day when you get back to work!
This is awesome. Only thing is that if you have a smart boss, he'll just keep on giving you more things to do. Then he'll realize why do I need to have 2 people working when 1 can do the job of both...
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Old 24th July 2017, 2:46 AM   #10
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One of Don Miguel Ruiz's Four Agreements is - Don't Take Anything Personally.
Absolutely!
Google the above book OP.
It's priceless!

As regards doing your best - this is also covered in the book actually, in another section.

Doing your best is a good think in work but also it requires boundary setting and managing people's expectations of you.
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Old 25th July 2017, 1:39 PM   #11
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My current workplace s actually a good exercise on developing thick skin. It can feel awful to be a scapegoat when something goes wrong, and it's unfair to do all the work while others do nothing and it's awful having your ideas copied while being excluded.

Some ways to handle it for me are:
- To remember the positives of my workplace (at least there are some)
- I want a good reference
- Remain calm even if I want to start the bitchslapping. It feels good to have a calm parental reaction to stoopid people. Let them be jerks and unfair, we are CLASSY.

And most importantly...
- After the end of the workday NO MORE MENTAL SPACE FOR WORK RELATED STUFF. There's more to life. This is just a job for $$$$
- We are more than our job. I have personal activity in my field of work so I don't care if work is less than great. As long as I get my $$$...
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