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10 core values and competencies to increase civility and job security

1. Be honest
You’re being paid to work, not to surf the Web, write personal emails, talk on the phone to friends and family.
Don’t take food that is not yours.

2. Have empathy
Know who benefits from your work and try to see things from their perspective.
Your boss may be stressed with new duties, fearful about the economy. Know your boss’ top priorities.
Customer may be as confused and unhappy with changes as you are. Try to look at the situation from their perspective.

3. Be curious
Ask how things are done, why they are done that way.
Seek new perspectives.

4. Be proactive
Defuse a bad situation.
Ask to meet with your boss to admit you can’t get all the work done or you are behind; that’s a huge relief to the boss.
Be professional with unhappy customers.

5. Think about interdependence
How will your actions affect other people?

6. Show initiative
How do you think you could be most helpful to the organization and your boss?
Can you exchange one task for another?
If you point out problems, suggest at least one possible solution.

7. Be positive
An employee with a bad attitude affects customers, coworkers and bosses.
New boss? Listen with an open mind to plans and how you can fit, help out, provide history when needed, set realistic not inflated goals of what you can do.

8. Think before you speak
Listen more than you talk. Very few people like constant jabber.
Don’t provide too much information, particularly personal information.

9. Show up on time
Be reliably prompt to work and to meetings.

10. Seek opportunity in the good times and tough times
Be strong and resilient.
Search the situation for something to learn or some other way to benefit.

This is part of my presentation today promoting civility in the workplace at the Iowa State University Extension Office Assistants Development Conference.

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