This month, one Fast Company reporter committed to calling people out on their bullshit, from the bank clerk to the smartphone repairers. We also looked at why writing passive-aggressive notes rarely gets your coworkers to fall in line, and which conversations you should avoid at networking events.
These are the stories you loved in Leadership for the month of November:
1. What Happened When I Spent A Week Calling People Out On Their B.S.
We’ve all had that experience when we sense something fishy in a person’s story. But then when we press them about it, they continue to give us an even fishier explanation. For one week, Fast Company reporter Michael Grothaus decided to call out other people’s bullshit when he saw it. In the process, he saved money, and also became much more aware of his own bullshit.
2. This Is Why Your Passive-Aggressive Office Note Didn’t Work
Ever spotted a note on the office fridge instructing you not to steal other people’s food, or to remember to wash your dirty dishes? Passive-aggressive notes might work for some people, but for others, it motivates them not to do the exact opposite of what they’re asked to. This month entrepreneur Shane Snow dug into the psychology behind why (and how) we all respond to our coworkers’ pleas and expectations.
3. How Making A “Reverse Bucket List” Can Make You Happier
Bucket lists can be motivating–unless you realize how little you’ve accomplished, in which case they’ll more likely prove downright demotivating. When one writer was feeling overwhelmed by hers, she decided to write down everything she’d accomplished already. Here’s what she learned after stumbling into a surprising way to practice gratitude.
4. Never Start Your Networking Conversations By Saying These 8 Things
Maybe networking feels so fake that it makes you cringe–and you overcompensate by being a bit too honest. As Glassdoor’s Maureen Harrington puts it, “There’s a fine line between being innovative and inappropriate,” especially in the first few minutes after meeting someone. Here are eight phrases you’ll want to avoid kicking off conversations with, no matter who you’re talking to.
5. Setting This Vague Daily Goal Totally Transformed My Productivity
Freelancer Daniel Dowling decided to brush aside rigorous productivity methods and went with something much simpler. Every evening, he asks himself, “Did you do your best?” Then his answer to that question dictates his approach the next day. As Dowling explained this month, “Looking at myself and answering the DYB question negatively always left me with the kick-in-the-neck sensation. No one likes being let down, especially by themselves.”
6. Stop Trying To Be Friends With All Your Coworkers, And Do This Instead
Yes, having friends can be great for your career, but having too many buddies at work can make you less productive. How many times have you found yourself in an enthralling yet pointless Slack discussion with your coworkers, only to realize you’ve barely dented your to-do list? Time coach Elizabeth Grace Saunders shares a few habits for sustaining your working relationships without turning everyone in your office into your BFF.
7. These Emotionally Intelligent Habits Can Make You A Better Listener
Most of us can probably do with better listening skills, and one of the best ways to practice them might be tapping into your feelings. This month Fast Company contributor Judith Humphrey shared a few tips for becoming a more emotionally intelligent–and therefore effective–listener.
8. Three Killer Job Interview Questions Entry-Level Candidates Forget To Ask
According to career strategist Adunola Adeshola, “That final stage of the interview can be the part where you seal the deal.” That’s when job candidates have a chance to ask hiring managers their own questions before saying thanks and leaving. But Adeshola says many entry-level jobseekers pass up this opportunity. Here’s her take on which questions younger candidates can ask to make an impact beyond, as she puts it, just “being the most eager entry-level candidate.”
9. The Out-Of-Office Template You Should Use This Holiday Season
Many of us set autoresponders when we go on vacation, but it might feel weird to do the same thing when you’re only out for one day–particularly when it’s a federal holiday. No one expects you to be at your desk on New Year’s Day, right? Sure, writes The Muse’s Richard Moy, but you should still set an out-of-office message–here’s his take on how.
10. Seven Ways To Turn Around Your Bad Day In A Few Minutes
We all have bad days, and there are some days where it feels like nothing can make us feel better. But as Fast Company‘s Gwen Moran wrote this month, it’s possible to turn them around faster than you might think. Here are some expert tips for shifting your focus when nothing else seems to be going right.