Manage Tough Personalities in the Workplace

BY Minda Zetlin@MindaZetlin


Problem employees in your company? Here’s how to whip them into shape–and make them more productive.

Running a business would be easy if only you didn’t have to manage people. The bigger your company grows, the smaller the likelihood that everyone in it will be easy to supervise. As the boss you always (or almost always) have the option to terminate anyone who is truly a drag on your company. But good talent is hard to find, so before you go down that road, it’s worth the effort to try and make a difficult person work more effectively within your company.

When faced with a problem personality, most of us do one of two things: We either confront the person head-on, leading to escalating hostility, or else avoid dealing with him or her and leave the problem to worsen. Neither is an effective solution, and as your company’s leader, neither is an option.

There’s a better way, according to Judith Orloff, M.D., assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA, and author of “The Ecstasy of Surrender.” Instead of being rigid and laying down the law, you can use a sort of communication aikido to channel troublesome employee’ own energies in ways that will benefit themselves, their co-workers, and your company.

“Let go of reactivity,” Orloff advises. “People typically react when their buttons get pushed. If that happens to you, take a break, breathe, and center yourself. Then respond calmly and firmly rather than getting caught up in their dances. As a role model for others, you have to be in a higher place.”

Here’s a look at five of the most challenging personalities Orloff has encountered, and how to manage them effectively:

1. Narcissists

Narcissists have an inflated sense of their own importance and crave constant attention and praise, Orloff explains. “They’re self-absorbed and lack the capacity for empathy,” she adds. “You have to realize that this person won’t care what other people are feeling, which is a huge drawback in the workplace.”

Telling someone how their behavior is making others feel, or working to the detriment of the company–an effective approach with many employees–won’t work at all when you’re dealing with a narcissist. Narcissists are also extremely sensitive to criticism of any kind and liable to react badly, she says. “If you want to keep them on and want them to be productive, you have to frame things in terms of how it might serve them,” Orloff says. “That’s the only thing they’ll respond to.”

What’s a good role for a narcissist? Interestingly, Orloff says, they will often do well in positions of power, because they take that power very seriously and value it highly, and often work very hard in those roles. “Narcissists are running the world,” she says.

2. Passive-Aggressive Types

“They will promise to help you with a project but then they don’t. Or they’ll show up 15 minutes late,” Orloff says. “Passive-aggressiveness is a form of anger, but not an outright form.” You may be tempted to try and get to the bottom of what’s making them angry and try to resolve the problem. Don’t go there, Orloff advises. “It’s a character disorder. You have to dig very deep,” she says.

Another thing to watch out for is your own reaction to passive-aggressive people, she says. “Passive-aggressive people will leave you dangling. They can make you feel you’re not worthwhile because they don’t show up for you in a consistent way. They can get to you without you knowing it.”

How do you deal with passive-aggressive employees? Unlike narcissists, they do have the capacity for empathy. They also want to advance in your workplace, and you can use both these traits to help motivate them. Mainly, Orloff says, you have to set very, very clear expectations. “The only way is to very clearly say what you need from them and when. ‘It’s very important that you show up on time for our meetings,’ for example.” Chances are they’ll try to slip through any loophole they can find, so you have to be very precise about what you want them to do.

Not surprisingly, Orloff recommends placing passive-aggressive employees in jobs where there are very specific guidelines and expectations laid out for them. In more open-ended roles, she says, “They’ll drive everyone crazy.”

3. Gossips

Every workplace will have a certain amount of gossiping, but if one of your employees enjoys reporting bad news about you, others in your company, or even the competition, that’s destructive behavior and you need to do something about it.

The first step toward dealing with a gossip is not to get sucked in yourself. Don’t participate in gossiping which can be hard to resist, depending on the subject of the conversation. Even more important, don’t give in to the natural human desire to know exactly what’s being said about you, or to try to please everyone so they’ll only have good things to say.

Beyond that, it’s a good idea to call the gossip on his or her behavior, and explain that it’s not helpful for your workplace. “Bringing their attention to it will curtail it a bit,” Orloff says. “It’s good to do because if you don’t, it will go unchecked.” Beyond that, she advises talking about gossip and its destructive effect to the company in general. “The workplace is a breeding ground for gossip,” she says. “If you address it honestly and explain why it’s not good for your company, you give employees permission to tell people that they don’t want to participate in gossip.”

On the plus side, gossips often have good people skills, Orloff says. “They like talking, so if you give them a positive place where they can talk, you can channel their abilities for the good,” she says. “Maybe sales is a good role.”

4. Anger Addicts

Some people deal with workplace tensions by accusing their co-workers of misdeeds, yelling at others, and generally giving their angry feelings free rein. These are some of the most challenging employees you’ll have to deal with.

Whatever you do, don’t let them get away with it. “This situation needs an intervention,” Orloff says. “That’s unacceptable behavior. They have to be given very strong limits and boundaries. It will destroy a workplace if people are having tantrums.”

As the boss, you’ll either have to take anger addicts aside, or get someone in Human Resources to do so. Either way, they need to hear that their expressions of anger are inappropriate. Offer them the opportunity to go for counseling. And face the fact that anger addicts may not have a future at your company since repeated rages can potentially drag your whole organization down.

5. Guilt Trippers

Guilt trippers lay it on thick. If you gave a plum assignment or perk to someone else, or otherwise slighted them or made their work more difficult, they’ll let you know just how much of a grievance they have. They may lay the same guilt trip on co-workers who they feel have slighted them as well.

With guilt trippers, Orloff advises educating them on how to communicate better. “A guilt tripper doesn’t know anything about communication,” she says. “Using the word I–’I feel this way,’ rather than ‘You did this to me.’ Just an education about that might be a help.” You can also talk to them about the effect their comments are having, since guilt trippers often don’t realize how they’re affecting others.

What’s the best role for a guilt tripper? “Not with people,” Orloff says. “Have them work on independent projects.”

In The News

Minn. bill allows solar panels in HOA communities The Minnesota House passed a bill Wednesday that would enable homeowners to install solar panels on their roofs without retribution from their HOAs as long as they own their roofs and aren’t part of a multi-family unit. Roughly 20% of the state’s HOAs, or up to 2,000 households, will be affected. “Solar represents a chance for suburbanites to do something about greenhouse gas emissions,” said Rep. Will Morgan, who introduced the bill. A similar bill has been heard in Missouri’s House Midwest Energy News (4/22)

How to respond to disability accommodation requests Condo associations and homeowners associations should create a policy that outlines how to respond to disability accommodations to avoid lawsuits while upholding standards for the community at large, writes Pamela Dittmer McKuen. McKuen advises that all accommodation requests be submitted in writing, information from a health professional should connect the disability to the accommodation being asked for, and all payment information regarding the modification should be documented. Board members should also remember that they are not allowed to ask detailed questions about one’s disability. Chicago Tribune (tiered subscription model) (4/27)

Colo. bill would put red tape on construction-defects lawsuits Colorado politicians are reviewing a proposed bill that would mandate that homeowner associations seeking to sue condo builders for construction defects must receive written consent from the majority of unit owners first and go through mediation prior to filing a lawsuit. HOA groups oppose the bill, saying they believe it keeps homeowners from protecting themselves via lawsuits and would require them to foot large repair bills should mediation result in funding caps. American City Business Journals (4/25)


CAI Annual Conference Offers CMCAs Education, Networking The upcoming 2014 Community Associations Institute Annual Conference and Exposition, May 14 to 17 at Loews Royal Pacific at Universal Orlando, offers an opportunity for CMCAs to earn up to 15 continuing education credits toward CMCA recertification. The conference is expected to bring together more than 1,000 community managers, management company executives, product and service providers, and association board members from around the world for a content-rich educational event. The CAI conference is an opportunity for CMCAs to network with peers, meet personally with members of the CAMICB staff team, and learn about innovative best practices in community association management.

5 Ways to Turn TGIF into TGIM

By Peter Economy

The way you start next week has everything to do with how you end this week. To really rock your Mondays, be smarter about the way you spend your Fridays.

You know the feeling: The weekend flew by and suddenly it’s Monday morning, the most groan-inducing time of the week. It doesn’t have to be that way. Use Friday afternoons to plan your Mondays. It’s a great way to get a jump on next week even as you put a bow on this week. Here’s a simple five-task checklist that will make your Fridays and your Mondays better–and probably your weekends, too

1. Finish It Off

As Friday afternoon approaches Friday evening, it’s easy to mentally clock out and get distracted by your weekend plans. Or, Friday afternoon procrastination might force you to work Friday evenings. Take a few minutes to assess what projects can be finished before the (regular) end of day, or at the least what would constitute a respectable stopping point. Make a habit of trying to wrap current projects on Fridays instead of starting new ones. Set yourself up for success by finishing the most important things early in the day, leaving time in the afternoon to focus on your employees, and on the company as a whole.

2. Write It Down

Outlining your most essential Monday tasks before you head out on Friday is a surefire way to make sure you’ll hit the ground running next week. Write down what exactly needs to be accomplished, and be sure to build in time for something that makes you happy. Remember that Mondays are rough on everyone, so don’t wait until then to set times and places for meetings; have your day laid out as much as possible.

3. Clean It Up

A clear workspace is essential for a clear mind. The last thing you need on a Monday morning is to be rooting around your paper-strewn desk trying to find those notes from an important client meeting. Just 10 or 15 minutes spent de-cluttering today will seem like a great investment come Monday, and is likely to become a habit you’ll be glad you developed.

4. Talk It Over

Set aside an hour or two each Friday afternoon to reach out to your people, preferably in person. If you can’t meet face to face, initiate a video chat or a phone call with your team. Address any outstanding issues or conflicts, sure, but also use the time to simply make sure everyone is in the loop on everything they (and you) need to know about.

5. Leave It Behind

Two days away rarely seems like enough, so do yourself a favor and take advantage of Fridays by freeing your weekend from work-related tasks. Respond to phone calls and emails before you leave, try to keep work calls to a minimum over the weekend, and if responses can wait until Monday morning, let them. Although sending a quick response doesn’t take much time, it can often needlessly take you out of the weekend bubble. Your weekend will feel longer and less stressed if you learn to keep your work at the office and attack it truly refreshed on Monday.

In The News

By Rachel Sapin

Anticipated push by HOAs against smoking pot getting hazy.

We’re more concerned about what is happening with Social Security,” said Lewis, who is 68 and vice president of the Heather Ridge Metropolitan District, which consists of 10 different HOAs that govern over 1,000 homes in southeast Aurora.

The home of Aurora resident Van Lewis sits so close to a golf course, you can see a red flag marking a hole from his ground-level patio. His condo is part of the Heather Ridge South Homeowners Association, where he shares a wall with his neighbor and a view with the patios of nearby homes that encircle the course. Lewis, who is president of his neighborhood’s HOA, can’t remember the last time marijuana came up at a neighborhood meeting.“We’re more concerned about what is happening with Social Security,” said Lewis, who is 68 and vice president of the Heather Ridge Metropolitan District, which consists of 10 different HOAs that govern over 1,000 homes in southeast Aurora.

He said so far it’s just an issue that most Aurora HOAs are watching, not necessarily taking action on.“Most HOAs don’t have a covenant against marijuana cultivation or use,” said Jerry Orten, an HOA attorney and spokesman for the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Community Association Institute. “Most of what’s happening now is just a discussion.”Many of the state’s HOAs haven’t decided what, if any rules, to implement. They could regulate marijuana use if they want to, Orten said. Orten said that right could come from a ruling handed down by the New Jersey Supreme Court.

In 2007, residents of the Twin Rivers Homeowners Association said the HOA was violating their First Amendment rights by not allowing them congregate and to post signs in the neighborhood’s common plaza. The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled the residents waived their constitutional free speech right when they agreed to live by the HOA’s covenant, which only allowed residents to post one or two signs on their personal property. They also ruled that the common area was private property, and also subject to the rules of the HOA. Though that ruling was outside of Colorado, Orten said the same result would be expected in Colorado if Amendment 64 were challenged in court.

Orten says Colorado’s Clean Air Act, which puts limitations on where people can smoke tobacco and on other types of smoke someone might find offensive, also gives HOAs the right to prohibit smoking in common areas. Pot use would remain hazy inside people’s homes simply because HOAs do not want to pursue that type of rule-making, Orten said.

HOAs don’t control what happens inside homes, “and they really don’t want to,” he said. Andrea Frederickson, president of The Condominium Association at East Hampden Circle, said she has concerns about the potential for civil lawsuits that could result from too much regulation.“

We are by some standards a small complex of five buildings with 60 units and certainly do not have a budget that would allow us to bring lawsuits against someone or defend a lawsuit, if someone disagreed with the rules and regulations,” she wrote in an email. “Our association … will address things as they come up and hope that some big association will try it out in court and we can know where we stand.”

She said her HOA has a nuisance clause that prevents homeowners from smoking in common spaces such as stairways, but she said that rule would not compel a neighbor to sue someone for smoking marijuana in their own unit, even if the smell wafted through vents or pocket doors.“

Ideally, you want rules people would voluntarily comply with,” Orten said. He said the bigger issue though may not come with marijuana use, but with cultivation where odors can permeate walls and potentially cause mold to grow in less-ventilated units. Residents using recreational marijuana are allowed up to six plants, but medical pot growers can obtain permission to grow more.“

If you’re going to grow, they could say you need ventilation. They could also limit your use of electricity. A lot of these grow facilities will run their lights for 16-18 hours a day,” Orten said. Whatever HOAs decide, the City of Aurora will not interfere, says Interim City Attorney Mike Hyman.  “We have left that up to the individual HOAs,” he said.

See you in Orlando!

CAI Annual Conference Offers CMCAs Education, Networking

The upcoming 2014 Community Associations Institute (CAI) Annual Conference and Exposition, May 14-17 at Loews Royal Pacific at Universal Orlando offers an opportunity for CMCAs to earn up to 15 continuing education credits toward CMCA recertification.  The conference is expected to bring together more than 1000 community managers, management company executives, product and service providers and association board members from around the world for a content-rich educational event. The CAI conference is an opportunity for CMCAs to network with peers, meet personally with members of the CAMICB staff team, and learn about innovative best practices in community association management.

For registration and information, visit  


Forget Work Life Balance

By Will Yakowicz

Ivan Misner, the networking guru of BNI, says entrepreneurs will never achieve balance. Here’s a far better way to maintain your sanity.

If you haven’t eaten dinner with your family in the past week, haven’t taken a day off in over a year, and feel like you still don’t have enough time to finish your work, you’re doing something wrong.

Ivan Misner, founder and chairman of global networking organization BNI, knows how unbalanced life is while running your own business.

Misner has written 20 books, runs BNI offices across the world from North America to Asia, and has a wife and kids. If you ask him, he’ll tell you he doesn’t live a balanced life. He’ll also tell you that you’ll never achieve balance either. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t lead a healthy life.

“Do you want to know the secret to balance? Forget about balance, you’ll never have it,” Misner told me recently. “You cannot have balance as an entrepreneur, but you can create harmony.”

The difference, Misner says, is not just semantics. “Harmony is something different. When you look at the scales of justice, people think balance is something they need but it’s not realistic,” he says. “For the entrepreneur, who has the most unbalanced life, [he or she] needs to get over it.”

Below, see Misner’s four tips to live a more harmonious life.

Be here now.

Misner says three words are the key to start a harmonious life: “Be here now.” Whereever you are, be there in mind, body, and spirit. “When you’re at work, don’t think about the time you didn’t spend with your kids last night. Be at work,” Misner says. “If you’re home, don’t think about that project at the office, be with your kids. It sounds simple, but it’s not easy. If it was easy everyone would do it. This is about focus–focus on the people you are with and make sure to be fully and completely there.”

Make time for the most important things.

Set aside time for the most important things and tasks in your life. This sometimes means you’re going to need to get creative. Misner says it’s important for him not to be an absentee dad. So, he squeezes writing books into his night hours.

“I’d hang with the kids, eat family dinner together, hang out, put them to bed, and go into my office at home at 10 p.m. and work until 3, or 5 or 6, grab a few z’s, and go into the office,” he says. “When my first book came out, my oldest daughter was surprised, ‘When did you write a book?’” He’s now writing his 20th book.

Integrate tasks.

Unlike much of the advice you might read about creating solid work and life boundaries, Misner says merging them together is the only way to go.

“For many years, I’d spend summers at the lake house and work remotely. But then, I decided to bring my management team with me for three or four days at a time while my kids and wife were with us,” he says. “If you can integrate work-life elements together, you can create harmony. My life is way out of balance–I’m on the road for nine months this year, but I am not an absentee dad. My wife comes with me and our kids, who are now adults, will meet us and we’ll make it a vacation.”

Remember: You can’t have it all.

You can’t do it all. It’s impossible, Misner says, so you have to pick and choose and practice time management. If you want to be a decent spouse, then make time to take off and recharge your battery. If an urgent work project comes up that will ruin the company, leave the vacation and make it up to them. But keep in mind this one thing: “Remember when you’re 70 years old, you’re not going to look back and wish you spent more time at the office,” Misner says. “But, you will regret not fostering a better relationship with your kids and partner.”

In the News: Subprime Mortgages

By Les Christie

Borrowers with bad credit were shut out of the mortgage market after the housing bubble burst, but now a handful of small lenders are starting to offer subprime loans again.

Once synonymous with toxic, adjustable-rate mortgages — like the “exploding ARMs” that led many homeowners to lose their homes to foreclosure during the housing bust — subprime mortgages are once againbeing offered to borrowers who pose a higher credit risk, typically those with credit scores that fall below 640.

But this time around, the loans are much more costly. During the housing bubble, lenders were handing out subprime loans with cheap teaser rates and little or no down payments. Now, lenders are charging interest rates of as high as 8% to 10% and requiring borrowers to make down payments of as much as 25%-35%.

The premium price is worth it for some borrowers who are trying to build or repair their credit, according to Bill Dallas from Skyline Financial, of Calabasas, Calif. Skyline started offering subprime loans a few months ago under its NewLeaf Lending division.

Among his firm’s subprime mortgage customers: young, first-time homebuyers and former homeowners whose credit was ruined in the housing bust.

“They’re just Americans who want to buy homes but can’t,” said Dallas, who used to run First Franklin, a subprime lender that went bust in the mortgage meltdown.

Most of these borrowers have nowhere else to turn. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which back 80% of all U.S. home loans, won’t back loans issued to subprime borrowers.

Only the Federal Housing Administration continues to support low-credit score borrowers in the wake of the housing bust. But it has hiked fees and premiums.

To help protect borrowers, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau requires strong consumer protections. The loans cannot carry interest rates that increase after default, or prepayment penalties, for example. And lenders must provide these borrowers with homeownership counseling from a representative approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In addition to the small lenders who are issuing subprime loans, Wells Fargo recently lowered the minimum credit score it requires of borrowers to get FHA loans.

Wells Fargo is now approving applicantswho have scores of between 600 and 640 for FHA loans, which remains well within FHA’s guidelines, according to spokesman Tom Goyda.

“It will open up access to credit for many lower income families, including first-time homebuyers,” said Goyda.

And Dallas points out that these borrowers don’t necessarily have to pay those high interest rates for the life of the loan. Once they demonstrate they can repay their loans regularly, their credit scores should improve and they should be able to refinance into a lower-rate loan.

In the News: Winter hits housing recovery

By Chris Isidore

Cold weather hurt home prices in January, as a closely watched measure of housing values posted its third straight monthly decline.

“The housing recovery may have taken a breather due to the cold weather,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

But home prices are still bouncing back from the bust. On a year-over-year basis, prices gained 13.2% nationally. The high point of the current recovery, the 13.7% increase in November, was generally seen an unsustainable by housing experts.

Home values over the last year have been helped by a drop in foreclosures, a decline in the unemployment rate and a relatively tight supply of homes available for sale. But beyond the cold weather, prices have faced a headwind of higher mortgage rates than a year ago, when rates were approaching a record low.

Later Tuesday the Census Bureau will report on new home sales in February. Economists surveyed by forecast a 5% drop in the pace of new home sales for the month, even when adjusted for seasonal factors.

7 Business Apps For Professionals

Smartphones have given today’s mobile workers the ability to not have to worry about having everything they need before they get moving. Which is great, until they end up in a conference, airplane, or other no-reception zone without the crucial One Thing I Need. Good smartphone and tablet tools don’t just provide access – they think ahead and plan for contingencies, like a personal assistant. They’re the tools that can make your job a whole lot easier.

Which apps do this? We happen to have seven of them, linked and ready for installing. The best part: all of them, except one category, are free, and the one that isn’t free is notably less than a hamburger.

1. TripIt

TripIt is a personal assistant for travel, especially if you give it access to your email inbox and let it scan for tickets and itineraries. Afterward, you literally don’t have to do anything except open the app to see all the details: your confirmation number, your departure time, the address of your hotel, the distance to the conference center, and the website of the restaurant you’re supposed to eat at Friday night. Open it up at least once before you journey and TripIt will hold your travel details for offline viewing, in case you don’t want to spring for WiFi on the plane. (iPhone/iPad, Android)

2. QuickOffice

There are all kinds of mobile business apps that claim to work well with Microsoft Office documents, but only so many offer only read-only access. Those that do offer editing tools often want to tie you into their own cloud storage schemes. Not QuickOffice. This app was recently acquired by Google, but it still works as a utilitarian open, edit, and save solution for quick views and adjustments. We’ve talked about the importance of information mobility, and this app provides a great way for mobile workers to access documents on the go. (iTunes, Android)

3. Pocket (or Instapaper)

Which app looks and works better is a matter of taste, but both Pocket and Instapaper do their jobs remarkably well. That job: take blog posts, news articles, and other content on the web (including everything at – shameless plug), strip it down to just the text and necessary images, and save them to your device for reading when you have time. Big offices used to have such “clipping services” way back when, but they didn’t let you choose your favorite font. (Pocket: iTunes, Android; Instapaper: iTunes, Android)

4. Agenda (or Fantastical)

It’s odd how unhelpful the default calendar on an iPhone or Android can be. With how much design has gone into the OS of each, how can something as simple as a calendar cause so many headaches? Why can’t you just get an agenda view of everything that’s happening today when you start it up? Why does entering the time and date of an event feel like unlocking a bank vault? My own fix is Agenda Calendar 4, which makes smart guesses about when you want to schedule things, shows your day in a well-designed glance view, and generally gives you more information and links from an event than Calendar. If you frequently use the iPhone’s Reminders function, you might instead try Fantastical 2, which ties directly into the iPhone’s alerts and reminders systems. (Agenda: iTunes, Android; Fantastical: iTunes)

5. Chrome

Chrome is Google’s own browser. Your iPhone already has the Safari browser, and your Android phone likely has its own default browser. So why would you bother to install a browser that shows the same web pages as either of these? One big reason: if you use Chrome on a desktop computer and sign in on both your desktop and phone with your Google account, you can see and open any tab you had open on your desktop browser when you left it. Or just start typing in a few words from the page you already went to into Chrome’s search bar, and Chrome should come up with it. It feels magical (and maybe a bit creepy). (iTunes, Android)

6. CloudCube (Android only)

Maybe you already feel backed up, cloud-connected, and ready to grab your files from anywhere. So cloud-connected, in fact, that you sometimes have a hard time remembering in which cloud you stored that certain file, and where you have room to put that next big one. CloudCube works with all the notable syncing services: Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive, Box, SugarSync, and more. Move files between clouds, see what’s inside each account, and even sync folders between your Android device and your services of choice. (Android)

7. IFTTT (If This Then That) (iPhone only)

Wouldn’t it be neat if every time you took a screenshot of your iPhone, that screenshot was automatically saved to where you want it? Or if every time you completed a Reminder on your phone, it emailed the appropriate person to let them know, automatically? Or if you could see, on your phone, every photo you’ve been tagged in from Facebook? With IFTTT (short for If This Then That), that kind of two-step, non-thinking action is entirely possible. The hardest part is thinking up the “recipes” that you want for your phone, but after playing with the website a bit, you should get a real sense of just how many things can be done without your having to even think about it. Be sure to install this iPhone app so you can take full advantage of that set-and-forget productivity. (iTunes).

What other business apps do you consider critical to getting the job done either while on the go, or at the office?

Best and Worst Resume Phrases

By Suzanne Lucas

To find ideal employees, these key phrases can help inform your decision.

“I’m a real go-getter who always thinks outside the box, demonstrates thought leadership, and proactively motivates myself!” If this sentence made you cringe, you’re not alone. These phrases come from the new CareerBuilder survey on the best and worst résumé terms.

The company surveyed 2,201 hiring managers and HR people to come up with the best of the best and the worst of the worst.

The Worst Résumé Terms

1. Best of breed: 38 percent

2. Go-getter: 27 percent

3. Think outside of the box: 26 percent

4. Synergy: 22 percent

5. Go-to person: 22 percent

6. Thought leadership: 16 percent

7. Value add: 16 percent

8. Results-driven: 16 percent

9. Team player: 15 percent

10. Bottom-line: 14 percent

11. Hard worker: 13 percent

12. Strategic thinker: 12 percent

13. Dynamic: 12 percent

14. Self-motivated: 12 percent

15. Detail-oriented: 11 percent

16. Proactively: 11 percent

17. Track record: 10 percent

The Best Résumé Terms

1. Achieved: 52 percent

2. Improved: 48 percent

3. Trained/Mentored: 47 percent

4. Managed: 44 percent

5. Created: 43 percent

6. Resolved: 40 percent

7. Volunteered: 35 percent

8. Influenced: 29 percent

9. Increased/Decreased: 28 percent

10. Ideas: 27 percent

11. Negotiated: 25 percent

12. Launched: 24 percent

13. Revenue/Profits: 23 percent

14. Under budget: 16 percent

15. Won: 13 percent

Considering, according to this survey, the average hiring manager spends two minutes looking at a résumé (and other studies have shown the time to be 45 seconds), it may be worth your time to rewrite your résumé to reflect what hiring managers want to see.

But, if you’re the one doing the hiring, stop and realize your own biases and maybe vow to spend a bit more time looking at résumés. After all, it’s not about what the résumé says (unless you’re hiring professional résumé writers); it’s about what the person can do for you.

Though you may want to immediately reject someone because he or she threw a word like synergy around that might not always be the best course. Take a closer look and see what the person has really accomplished. After all, your goal should be to hire the best people for your business, and that may mean people who aren’t the world’s best résumé writers.