2. Develop a conflict resolution plan before you need it.
As you face conflicting demands, develop a system so you wonâ€™t have to play referee every day. You can insist on 24 hours notice, command extra charges for rush jobs, or adhere strictly to first come, first served rules.
Working for a company? Get everyone to agree on a rule for setting priorities. Match your communication style to your organizationâ€™s culture. If nobody wants to negotiate, or if youâ€™re working late on everybodyâ€™s projects (while the folks who assigned those projects left hours ago), your challenge becomes, “how to deal with unreasonable bosses.”
3. Design your promises ahead of time.
When a clientâ€™s on the phone, itâ€™s so tempting to say, “You only want to pay X dollars? No problem.” Or you invite everyone in a class to send questions, which you promise to answer within 24 hours.
Off the phone, you realize youâ€™ve just committed to an hourly rate thatâ€™s a fraction of your normal fee. (Weâ€™ve all done this at least once.) Either you deliver a half-baked solution or you put in lots of unpaid overtime. And either way, youâ€™ll find yourself resenting the client and wondering why you got into this business in the first place.
Lessons learned: Conflicting demands? Youâ€™re not facing a time management challenge. Youâ€™re looking for a new strategy — a way to mesh your preferred working style with the needs of your clients – and a set of policies to protect you from your own generosity.
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., is an author, speaker and career/business consultant, who helps midlife professionals ceate their own mid-career makeovers. Your Next Move Ezine: Read one each week and watch your choices grow!
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