Say ‘Bah, humbug!’ to these workplace myths

by Katie May, editor, Communication Briefings

Every year as December rolls around, leaders everywhere brace themselves for endless distractions that interrupt the team’s work, distract employees from their tasks and strand productivity on the back burner.

It doesn’t have to be that way. You can make December a productive month and prepare your team to charge into the New Year primed for maximum productivity. To do so, you need to recognize—and dismiss—myths like the following:

Myth: Work and play don’t mix. You can carve out time to have fun with your staff when you identify the must-do items on your list, divide up the good-to-do tasks and forget about the rest for now. Click here to learn how.

Myth: Goals and planning are for January. Make planning a priority in December, and you ensure success in January and beyond. Click here to discover five planning steps that deserve a spot on your to-do list this month. Be sure to download the free planning worksheet to evaluate your 2010 progress and build on it for 2011.

Myth: Falling behind is inevitable during December. Stay on top of your most important assignments. Click here to learn an amazingly simple tactic.

Myth: Diverse ethnic and religious traditions damage team cohesion. Strengthen team spirit using the secret shared by successful leaders in multicultural workplaces: Open your work traditions to accommodate different traditions. Click here to learn more.

Last month’s poll

Last month we asked you “What customer service phrases drive you crazy?” The majority of you recognized the contradictory nature of a very common phrase:

  • 48% said “Your call is very important to us … Please hold.”
  • 35% said “You will have to call back during business hours.”
  • 4% said “Let me transfer you to someone who can help you.”
  • 7% identified another troublesome phrase, including recorded messages that say “I’m sorry; all operators are busy” and “Press 1 for … Press 2 for …”

Clearly, shopworn phrases and tired platitudes carry the risk of irritating or alienating customers. Be certain to back up the words you speak with your policies and nonverbal or written language. Saying “Our customers matter” is great; telling them to wait their turn is not. A better way: “We apologize for the delay; we are currently serving another one of our customers. Please hold momentarily while we prepare to serve you.”

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