PROFESSIONAL ENCOUNTERS SECTION
Often in the workplace, we encounter people with challenging personalities and these present challenges to us. Below are three scenarios — your assignment is to read through the materials posted below about seven types of difficult people (http://literacy.kent.edu/salt_fork/work_people/7types.html (Links to an external site.)) and then write a 250 word response to EACH scenario in which you outline how you would deal with a similar situation in your preferred work place. Be sure you are using at least two-three of the strategies listed on the website to manage each of these kinds of difficult people. To access weblinks, hold control and click them or copy and paste into web browser.
RESOURCES FOR THIS ASSIGNMENT: http://literacy.kent.edu/salt_fork/work_people/7types.html (Links to an external site.)
Scenario 1: John and Mike work in the same police department. Mike is a new employee. John has worked at the station for a long time. John and Mike do the same job. They have the same job title. They have to work together. John likes to do things they way they have always been done. He is very vocal. Because he’s been there so long, he thinks he knows how to do things. And he tells others about it, whether or not they ask. Mike tries hard to follow department rules. Mike is a very quiet man. He doesn’t talk much. He has conservative and traditional values. Employees must clock in within 5 minutes of the start of their shifts. They are supposed to clock in at their own buildings, but there isn’t any way to check this. John always clocks in at another building so he won’t be marked as tardy. He always gets to his work station at least 10 minutes late. At least a couple of times each week, somebody asks Mike where John is. Mike is tired of covering for John. He has kept it in for a long time. Finally, one morning, John is 20 minutes late. Mike has to cover for John 2 times. When John finally appears, Mike tells him he’s not going to cover for him anymore. John says, “Hey, I clocked in. I’ve been doing this for years. As long as you don’t say anything, nobody will ever know. Just shut the %&# up and do your job.” Mike and John start shouting at each other. The sergeant walks in just as it looks like John is going to hit Mike. If you were Mike, how could you have approached this situation differently? What kind of personality in the workplace does Mike demonstrate? What about John? Which strategies would be better suited to handle John in this case?
Scenario 2: At the local sheriff’s office officers work in teams. When a unit doesn’t have enough officers, the workers are sent to other units temporarily to work with new partners. Sue is a complainer. She whines all the time. She is sent to a new unit and partner for the day. Andy greets her. Andy smiles and says, “We’re glad to have you as part of our team today. We like having people from other departments help us.” Sue answers, “This isn’t what I was hired to do. I’m only here because I have to be. I only want to do undercover work.” Andy tries to explain the work on the patrol beat. But every time he says something, Sue whines. Andy decides to try to make the best of it. On the morning break, several other team members complain to Andy about how much Sue complains. Later in the day, they stop to help with a funeral procession. Sue whines, “This is stupid. Why can’t management get it right? I don’t care if they pay me to sit here and do nothing.” When the patrol car gets running again, Sue whines that she was just getting comfortable, “and there’s only an hour and a half left in the day anyway.” Andy tells her that they need her head in the game because anything could happen on the next call. Tomorrow, he says, she will be able to go back to her own department and do her own job. The next day, Sue arrives at Andy’s patrol car again. She starts whining right away. If you were Andy in this scenario, how could you have approached this situation differently? What kind of personality in the workplace does Sue demonstrate? What about Andy? Which strategies would be better suited to handle Sue in this case?
PROFESSIONAL COMMUNICATION SECTION
While many of you learned how to write letters and attach stamps in public schools, the reality of the world today is that email is the primary means of communication for most people in the professional world. Many of you, however, do not write professional emails. Instead, many fall prey to writing in “text speak” or writing informally as to a friend. In this assignment, you will craft several draft email messages related to the prompts below, and these will be assessed for your completion of this assignment. If your work is not professional, you will be required to repeat the assignment until your work meets minimum parameters.
What you must remember about email is that it creates a formal record that (depending on the line of work) can be subpoenaed in court. Nearly any law enforcement email can be subpoenaed, as can those of people who work in any other government sector (including education). Stop and think about the last several email messages you wrote – would you want those read in court and forever marked down with your name as the author in the public record for newspapers to print?
What you must also recognize is that if your email messages are written poorly, informally, or otherwise riddled with spelling and grammar errors, you will not get your foot in the door at an organization, regardless of whether you are holding piece of paper. Degrees don’t get people jobs – Skills do. One essential skill is communicating effectively in written form (like email). I do not have a degree in English; in fact, I took as few English courses in college as I could get away with. I still had to learn how to write professionally, and you do too.
What makes an email professional?
Subject Line – NEVER leave this blank. People receive hundreds of email messages a day. People who can’t be bothered to tell why they’re emailing in a few words get deleted because no one has time to play detective for strangers.
Introductory Element – DO NOT just start a long rambling paragraph in an email. Address the person by name. Use their formal titles and last name unless they have told you otherwise. You are talking to a person! If you walked into someone’s office that you did not know well, did not address them by name, and started rambling at them about wanting a job, imagine their reaction (before they called security on you). Now realize that is the same reaction you get via email too. Never be informal with a stranger, especially someone who might be hiring you. What you may perceive as a friendly short email may often be perceived as unprofessional or rude. Use titles like Mr./Mrs./Ms./Mx. /Dr. etc.
Greeting – You do not have to go into detail, something like “Good morning” can be enough. Other examples of polite greetings include: “Hope you’ve been well.” “I am glad to hear from you.” “I hope your weekend went well!” Things like this. Short and polite.
Purpose Statement – Why are you bothering this person? Email is not meant to be essay length, but you should have a statement at the front of the email establishing what is going on. Is this a thank you email? Is this a request? Are you asking to schedule a meeting? Start with the end of the story in the email, and then get to the other parts. Remember that people will read the first three or so lines of an email and decide whether to continue reading after that point. I can tell you I delete a lot of unsolicited email (not from students, of course) after reading the greeting and first sentence. I can already tell if it is a form email, spam, or something genuine just with a couple of lines. I bet you can too.
Body of Email – This is where you get to the point. You should also be aware that length matters. Email should not include every single detail of an interaction, for example, that should be reserved for a face to face meeting. Your email should be long enough to cover enough detail to get your point across without resorting to rambling. Some may be shorter while you need to write more for others. If your supervisor is asking you for a report on your progress, they are going to want detail. If you are asking for a day off of work, they don’t need to hear about your specific medical ailments at length, and you don’t want that information to get published one day on the internet either. Finally, you should write in sentences with proper spelling, grammar, and capitalization. If you can’t write an email, writing reports daily will be a challenge – that is what the job recruiter may think.
Concluding Elements – These include three things: closing, name, and signature. You need to have some kind of closing in your email. Choose from among these: Kind Regards, Sincerely, Thank you for…, etc. Again, this does not have to be long, but you need to say goodbye in some way. Next, put your name in the email. The person doesn’t know who firstname.lastname@example.org is. What is your legal name that will show up on the paperwork you give them? No nicknames unless you include your full name in your signature (see below). Signatures give people ways to contact you back and remind them who you are. As students, yours will not be as formal as mine.
Here is mine: Donna (to signify to people that I go by this name to my colleagues) Donna F. Ossorio, Ph.D. (full name and highest degree) Assistant Professor of Social Justice and Criminology (my job title) Graduate Program Coordinator – MSJC (my second job title) Division of Social Sciences and History (where you can reach me) Delta State University (where I work)
Yours can be as simple as:
Firstname Lastname Social Justice and Criminology Major (if you want to add this you can. This line is optional) email@example.com (how will the person get back in contact with you otherwise?) 222-555-5555 (cell phone. Nobody has landlines)
Assignment Instructions: In the space provided below, after each of the prompts ON THE FOLLOWING PAGES, write a professional email using the above steps and components. Please change the font color of your email to help it stand out from the assignment instructions.
#1: Create a professional email that you would send to your professor thanking them for the opportunity to learn in the class and highlighting some of what you’ve learned this semester.
Subject of Email:
Body of Email:
#2: Create a professional email that you would send to someone who has interviewed you for a possible position, thanking them for the opportunity to interview with the organization and for their time.
Subject of Email:
Body of Email:
#3: Create a professional email that you would send to your supervisor asking for time off the following two days due to an emergency or other unexpected and high priority event in your life.
Subject of Email:
Body of Email:
#4: Create a professional email that you would send to a professor inquiring about an assignment grade that you expected to score highly on but did not score highly on. Your goal is to better understand the grading of the assignment.
Subject of Email:
Body of Email:
#5: Create a professional email to a colleague who has not been helping with their part of a group assignment with the goal of getting them to do their share of the work. Remember email is often used as evidence in court, so be courteous.
Subject of Email: