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3 Tips for an Effective Workplace Mentality (Smartphones Not Required!)


3 Tips for an Effective Workplace Mentality (Smartphones Not Required!)

Panic. Heart palpitations. Worry. Fear. These are four of the most common feelings people have when they realize THEY HAVE LEFT THEIR SMARTPHONE AT HOME!!!! But have you ever stopped to ask yourself, “What life would be like without my smartphone?”


Yes, you would be disconnected from the globe, and yes, everybody wouldn't be able to reach you with the push of a button. But is that a bad thing?


The smartphone is just one of the many standard features of the modern workplace. Between smartphones, smart watches, social media, and direct messaging, we are all truly everywhere all at once. We are working and thinking at a pace that was unimaginable just five years ago. And, now, with ChatGPT and other generative AI products becoming a part of our daily work routine, the pace of business is even faster than it was just one year ago.


Amid the ever-increasing speed of our professional and personal lives, the biggest challenge many of us face is being focused, effective and deliberate in what we do. This situation is even more complicated and stressful because we currently have four generations working together: Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z, each with their own communication styles. Not only does this lead to frustration and challenge, but it can also lead to miscommunication and misinterpretation.


Although it may seem impossible at first glance, our ability to be focused, effective, and deliberate — both personally and professionally — is tied less to the gadgets and the technology we use than it is to how we frame our thinking. The three words to keep top of mind are culture, structure, and communication.


Culture


Every company, big or small, global or domestic, public or private, has its unique corporate culture. While no one is going to tell you exactly what it is, if you pay attention, you will understand it. As explained in the January-February 2018 edition of Harvard Business Review, "Culture is the tacit social order of an organization: It shapes attitudes and behaviors in wide-ranging and durable ways. Cultural norms define what is encouraged, discouraged, accepted, or rejected within a group. When properly aligned with personal values, drives, and needs, culture can unleash tremendous energy toward a shared purpose and foster an organization's capacity to thrive."


Appreciating your company's culture and value system is critical if you are trying to be effective and deliberate. You’ll only want to propose an idea or activity that goes against your organization's beliefs if you have a rationale for it. Consider what your organization is, what it stands for, and how you can most effectively contribute.


Structure


Besides your organization's corporate culture, it’s essential to appreciate how it is structured. Reporting relationships, assignment of responsibilities, and hierarchy are just the tip of the iceberg. Observing and thinking about the interactions between the executive team, senior management, and support levels is also important. Does management adhere to a hierarchical structure where responsibilities are assigned and tasks are delegated? Or are management levels blended with the understanding that everyone should "go for it" and never look back?


Realizing your strengths and recognizing your ideal structure will also empower you to be more effective at work. With an understanding and appreciation for the culture and management structure, chances are likely you'll be more successful in your attempt to be deliberate and impactful in the workplace.


Understanding all of this requires communication, so don’t assume that your own thoughts or actions will be acceptable without running it by peers, mentors, or even your direct supervisor. For example, never say, "I know we all had a working lunch today where the company brought in pizza for our lunch brainstorm session, but I didn't get my hour-long lunch break where I have time to myself, so I'll be taking off from 4 to 5 p.m. as well for my 'real' lunch break" — unless you’ve have heard from others in the workplace that such a statement and action will be OK.


Communication


Email, phone call, DM, Tweet, Text — so many modes of conversing. What’s acceptable? What’s effective? There’s no right or wrong answer to this question. It depends on the style of the organization and, in some cases, the client. If you work in a client service business where multi-person teams are servicing clients — think public relations and advertising firms, law firms, accounting firms, etc. — this is a critical element of the client relationship. One wrong text or unexpected DM could destroy the relationship with the highly coveted client. The best way to learn and adopt the appropriate communication style is to ask. (Again, don’t assume.)


When it comes to client service and communication, the only bad question is the one that isn't asked. If a deadline has yet to be assigned, ask for one. If no one's been given responsibility for a task, suggest that one is appointed. If you need help understanding what someone is saying, ask for clarification. If your boss sets Friday as the deadline for a project, it’s OK and advisable to ask: "When you say the deadline is Friday, what do you mean by that?" The greater your knowledge and understanding of your organization's and/or client's communications style, the more effective you can be in supporting them.


Creating an effective and deliberate workplace mentality begins with an understanding and appreciation for your organization's culture, structure, and communication style. Once you understand the norms and behaviors of those around you, it’s up to you to decide how you’ll navigate them. Decide what you want your role and contribution to be and develop a roadmap for bringing it to life.


You can't be everything to everyone, so think about your strengths and how you can effectively leverage them to support the organization. Be deliberate in your choices — once you’ve made a decision, stick with it and give it your all. You may only successfully implement some initiatives or execute some ideas, but if you’re deliberate and passionate, and communicate well, you will achieve more than you ever thought possible.




Kathryn Lancioni is a communication expert and the founder of Presenting Perfection.


Reflect AI by Alphy is a SaaS platform that flags harmful language, including topic, tone, “isms,” confidence, mindset and appropriateness. Our AI language classifier detects risks in emails prior to send, flags conversational missteps (and successes) in video meetings in real-time, and upskills individual communication with targeted and personalized microlearning.


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