Friday, September 24, 2010

Modeling Behavior from Coworkers

Oh coworkers, who I've worked with these past three years, I have learned much from you. And some of your behaviors I've adopted.

The Silent Stare or "What am I Supposed to Do About This?"
Aaron (who has sadly left the agency recently) would do a lot around the office -- much more than call of duty -- and naturally the rest of us became very dependent on him. Every once in a while someone would tell Aaron something that sounded like a request but would be something he wasn't available (or that he decided wasn't appropriate) to do. His recourse: Stare silently at the person. Eventually said person would walk away. Brilliant move.

Though may not work as well with direct requests or with supervisors.

Using the Term, "friend"
Another coworker has a gift of making people feel immediately welcome through her warm demeanor.

She often addresses clients with 'friend' as they come in to a workshop or a group event. She does it so naturally and usually people respond to it well. It sets a friendly environment. With time I've adopted using this greeting as people filter into a room. And OK, a couple of times in informal situations outside work with strangers.

Going About Finding Out if a Client is Lying
For most people this comes naturally but for me this is a weakness. I tend to take people at face value because that's the way I am. I'm typically more apt to trust someone unless the story doesn't add up from the get go or if trust has been broken with client previously. 

A coworker advised me that if I'm suspicious that a client is lying to avoid following my instinct (that would go along the lines of "You're lying to me!!") but instead ask questions to verify what she's saying. For some common sense, for me helpful.

You've had an ongoing conversation with a client about her applying for a benefits card or another task that keeps being put off and remains at discussion stage. Not something that doesn't happen with other people (see family members). Presenting a task as something you'll be doing at a specific time may better commit a client to do it.

When Possible Write Case Notes Immediately After Contact
When and if that's not possible do your best to write them the day of. I did thank my coworker who suggested this later.


socialjerk said...

I've gotten really good at acting confused. This works with clients who are either outright lying, or contradict themselves because they are overwhlemed or confused. A little, "Wait. I thought you told your daughter she couldn't go out?" and seeming genuinely mystified has gotten a lot of people to backpedal and be more honest, for me.

And back when I worked in a youth center, my boss (now my best friend) would always greet the kids as, "friend." I loved it, and have picked it up as well.

Anatolia said...

Great tip Socialjerk!