When is it time to break up with a toxic co-worker?

May 23, 2012

Sometimes we can become so enmeshed in our working life that we lose perspective and miss the fact that a person we work with is toxic to our personal and business well-being. Here are some signs that it is time to break up with your toxic co-worker:

• They perpetually drag you down and make you feel lousy about your work
• They persistently don’t do what they tell you they are going to
• They hold on to the power within your relationship and refuse to allow you to be in control
• Even after confronting them on your issues with them, they still exhibit the same behaviors

Sound familiar anyone?

Well, my friend, it is time to break up with this toxic co-worker. They are killing your mojo and you need not waste any more time getting sucked into their negative vortex.
If you are an entrepreneur the solution is a bit easier than if you work in a company where you may be forced to have to interact with this person. And of course, each situation like this is highly contextually driven and there is no one answer fits all kind of a response.

For my entrepreneurs: I suggest one of two avenues, depending on how critical they are to your business relationships or future. The easy first route is to simply distance yourself from them and move towards colleagues and peers who bring you satisfaction and positivity when working together. However, if the toxic relationship is one that is very essential to your business and that you really can’t afford to lose right now, here is what I would suggest: Setting up one final meeting, eyeball to eyeball where you state your frustrations in the relationship and let them know that you cannot continue to work this way. Ask them what needs to happen for you to be able to shift towards a more productive and positive and trusting relationship. If they don’t hold up these agreed upon new terms in the relationship, then it is time to cut your losses and move on. You simply cannot afford to work under these situations. And this person is likely undermining you behind your back anyways to clients and colleagues. Run quickly!

For my corporate folks: It’s time to hold your toxic co-worker accountable and this is going to involve a lot of courage and initiative on your end. First, if you are comfortable, I would suggest the same two suggestions above. However, if they both flop and you are still left in the same bind, it is time to escalate this situation to your managers. It would be wise to first have a conversation with your boss alone and them know the objective and specific facts about the person’s toxic ways and how that behavior is impacting the overall business. The third most critical point to be able to make in this conversation is what your suggestions are for remedying the situation. From here, it should be up to your boss how they want to handle this situation. Ideally he will confront the toxic co-worker and enforce clear repercussions if the person does not improve their behavior. However, you should be prepared for the toxic co-worker to potentially present a list of complaints that they might have about you. The most important key is to get some resolution in the situation and shift you both out of the toxic bind that is occurring today.

Good luck and let me know how things go!


Whose got YOUR back?

May 9, 2012

This week I went through a roller coaster of a decision that has ended up at a completely opposite end point than I had expected. And the reason for this differential is that the people closest to me all rallied, unknowingly together, for me to go the opposite way.

I share this with you because it has highlighted a lesson I thought I knew all too well, but that I clearly need to have reinforced again and again. So that means some of you out there might also benefit from my story.

I can admit now, today, (but trust me yesterday I was still mad!!) that the final decision to ultimately turn down an AWESOME opportunity is the right decision for myself, for my business and for my family.  But, a few days ago, I was drooling at the chance to make this possibility a reality.  For now, I have chosen to close the door and give it some time.

Rather than boring you with the details of the ins and out of my particular experience, I would like you to think about these questions when you are also faced with a huge, juicy, incredibly tantalizing opportunity:

1)      As yourself WHY you need this opportunity. Consider what ‘it’ in particular will offer to you that you can’t do for yourself today.


2)      Whose GAIN is this opportunity? Is there more to gain from the person who is offering you the opportunity versus to you yourself?


3)      Is this really the best TIMING for you with this opportunity?  If you are currently going through a very demanding time in your personal life (young children, relationship difficulties, medical issues, financial stress, etc), do you really have the bandwidth to take on all the implications of this opportunity?


4)      WHO serves on your personal advisory board?  If you don’t have one of these, you need to start building one today. Everyone needs an inner circle of people who are looking out for your best interests and whose opinion you respect.  You need to make sure you consult these people before you make any big decisions.


I’d love to know your thoughts on these points and if you ever have found yourself in a situation like mine where in retrospect you are happy or regretful about the decision you ultimately made.  Thanks everyone!

Paramount PR Tips from Weinstein PR

May 4, 2012

I consult with the leaders of small and mid size businesses who are often peripherally wondering how they should best be publicizing their story to the public.  The media landscape has shifted dramatically in the last few years with the influx of social media and the crumbling of traditional print media sources.  No one can afford to not engage with their customers today, rather it has become an imperative.  Here is a crystal clear list of tips from Portland’s own Weinstein PR, who together have more than 284 collective years working in PR, communications and design, for your PR considerations:

  •  The best PR efforts start with the brand. PR should nurture and nourish your brand, and ring true to your audience.
  • Human beings love great stories. Find your most compelling stories, and tell them strategically.
  • Consider your audience. Reach them where their interests intersect yours.
  • Hone your messages. Simplicity. Clarity. Focus on just 3 or 4 messages, and perfect them with great writing.
  • Provide great visuals. Compelling graphic design and iconic imagery make your message stick.
  • Prepare and rehearse. Anticipate questions. Practice answers. Be sure the people who will deliver your message are equipped to succeed with proper social/media training.
  • Control your own media, and frame the conversation for others. Tell your stories directly and engage your audience with blogs, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Tumblr and eNewsletters.
  • Boutique PR firms like ours offer great creative chops, are cost effective and have experienced people. The people you initially meet should be the ones who work on your account.
  • Build authentic relationships. Meet face-to-face with the media whenever possible, and share your stories with confidence and transparency.
  • Engage your employees, friends and vendors. Expand your inner circle to include everyone who can spread the word and feed the energy. Trust them with the truth.
  • Define what success looks like. Always articulate what you are trying to achieve with a PR campaign – so that everyone will know when you’ve done it!

What has your most successful PR initiative been and what did you learn along the way?