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5 Ways to Get Along Better With Your Boss

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You've got a hunch that you're on the outs with your boss—it could be because of that deadline you missed, or simply because you dared to speak to him or her before they finished their morning coffee. Either way, things are tense, and it could spell trouble for your career. Use these pro tips to get back into your boss's graces.

1. SCHEDULE A TIME TO MEET.

The best way to work through your issues with your boss is to talk things over face-to-face. But don’t spring this meeting on him, because he may take this as an ambush, says Art Glover, director of Human Resources at the Douglas County Libraries. During the talk, approach things tactfully and deferentially. "Talk openly, and say things like, 'I'm feeling like things aren’t working too well, and I want to make sure I’m meeting your needs,'" Glover suggests. Or, "I want to hear what you’d like from me." It sounds simple, but this is an incredibly difficult conversation for some people to have. You may want to practice first.

2. MATCH THEIR COMMUNICATION STYLE.

Your boss could be having a hard time working with you because she likes to skip the details and the chatter and get right to the point, but you’ve been filling her inbox with stories rather than quick one-liners. Or maybe the reverse is true. "Instead of making assumptions about the person, act like a detective as you study their behavior," suggests Christen Bavero, coach at the brand management and executive coaching company ThinkHuman.

"Once you study their behavior, match their communication style,” Bavero says. Do they send just two to three sentences in an email? Or does each email include five paragraphs explaining each process? Do they like to have animated face-to-face meetings that involve conversations about family, or is a quick instant message chat more their style?

3. GET TIPS FROM A TRUSTED CO-WORKER.

Surely your boss gets along with someone. Ask that person what he or she has done to get along with the boss, advises Susan Heathfield, a management and organization development consultant who specializes in human resources issues. Heathfield also recommends asking that person what she thinks you should be doing differently. Maybe the boss confided in that co-worker about you—or maybe she knows that your boss just doesn’t like people who bring tuna fish to work because it stinks up the break room. Really, it could be anything, and your co-worker could know the secret.

4. DON'T ENGAGE.

In moments of real conflict with your boss you need to make sure you don't say something you'll regret. The best way to do this? "Breathe," says Jody Michael, CEO and founder of Jody Michael Associates, an executive and career coaching company with offices in Chicago and Atlanta. "Deep diaphragmatic breathing is one of the easiest and most effective ways to regain your composure. The last thing you want to do is to engage in the frenzy that your boss might be creating, and to say or do something you later regret." Also, she says, remember that your boss is human, which makes him or her vulnerable to pressure and stress. Try to understand the situation from his or her perspective and the factors that might be driving your boss's behaviors.

5. MAKE A CHANGE.

Sorry to break it to you, but your boss might have a good reason for disliking you. Maybe you botched a project or are always late to work. If you are determined to change, then you should apologize for your behavior. If you're sincere, your boss will eventually come around, Glover says. "Generally, we human beings, once we’ve been given negative info, take a little while to see that you’re going to turn that around," he says. "Actions speak louder than words." If your actions are consistently positive, and your boss is a reasonable person, then you should be able to mend the relationship.

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7 Science-Backed Ways to Improve Your Memory
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Being cursed with a bad memory can yield snafus big and small, from forgetting your gym locker combination to routinely blowing deadlines. If your New Year's resolution was to be less forgetful in 2018, it's time to start training your brain. The infographic below, created by financial website Quid Corner and spotted by Lifehacker Australia, lists seven easy ways to boost memory retention.

Different techniques can be applied to different scenarios, whether you're preparing for a speech or simply trying to recall someone's phone number. For example, if you're trying to learn a language, try writing down words and phrases, as this activates your brain into paying more attention. "Chunking," or separating long digit strings into shorter units, is a helpful hack for memorizing number sequences. And those with a poetic bent can translate information into rhymes, as this helps our brains break down and retain sound structures.

Learn more tips by checking out the infographic below.

[h/t Lifehacker.com.au]

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The Only Way to Answer ‘What Is Your Greatest Weakness?’ In a Job Interview
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Thanks in part to the influence of Silicon Valley and its focus on the psychological probing of job applicants, interview questions have been steadily getting more and more abstract. As part of the interview process, today's job seekers might be asked to describe a vending machine to someone who’s never seen one before, or plan a fantasy date with a famous historical figure.

Even if the company you’re approaching isn’t fully on board with prodding your brain, at some point you may still come up against one of the most common queries applicants face: "What is your greatest weakness?"

"Some 'experts' will tell you to try and turn a strength into a 'weakness,' to make yourself look good," writes Inc. contributor Justin Bariso. "That advice is garbage."

"Think about it," Bariso continues. "Interviewers are asking the same question to countless candidates. Just try and guess how many times they hear the answers 'being a perfectionist' or 'working too much.' (Hint: way too often.)"

While responding that you work too hard might seem like a reliable method of moving the conversation along, there’s a better way. And it involves being sincere.

"The fact is, it's not easy to identify one's own weaknesses," Bariso writes. "Doing so takes intense self-reflection, critical thinking, and the ability to accept negative feedback—qualities that have gone severely missing in a world that promotes instant gratification and demands quick (often thoughtless) replies to serious issues."

Bariso believes the question is an effective way to reveal an applicant’s self-awareness, which is why companies often use it in their vetting process. By being self-aware, people (and employees) can correct behavior that might be affecting job performance. So the key is to give this question some actual thought before it’s ever posed to you.

What is your actual greatest weakness? It could be that, in a desire to please everyone, you wind up making decisions based on the urge to avoid disappointing others. That’s a weakness that sounds authentic.

Pondering the question also has another benefit: It prompts you to think of areas in your life that could use some course-correcting. Even if you don’t land that job—or even if the question is never posed to you—you’ve still made time for self-reflection. The result could mean a more confident and capable presence for that next interview.

[h/t Inc.]

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