All work and no play can make for a dull day at the office, but being productive is what matters most to employers. While having a jovial co-worker that can lighten the mood in the workplace can be a plus, he or she can wind up being a major distraction when there’s a tight deadline looming. The last thing any effective team needs is an internal distraction, be it a talkative co-worker or an unfocused one. Jonathan Smith, better known as Lil Jon, knows firsthand how detrimental a distracting co-worker can be to working efficiently and effectively. For the past several weeks, he and fellow Celebrity Apprentice cast mates had to deal with the always-erratic Gary Busey, who would constantly interrupt, confuse and undermine his team’s progress during each assigned task. With the frustrating actor finally “fired” in last night’s episode, BlackEnterprise.com caught up with Lil Jon to get his tips on dealing with a distracting co-worker (named Gary Busey).
YOU HAVE TO BE A GOOD LISTENER
While most people’s first instinct would be to ignore someone that’s diverting their attention away from a task, Lil Jon actually suggests doing the opposite. “I’ve dealt with a lot of crazy and special kind of artists and people with attitudes,” he says. “You just got to listen to them.” The thought is that they’ll return the favor when you politely explain that whatever it is they are doing or saying is taking away from your productivity. The last thing you want to do is to come off rude or dismissive, which can exacerbate a situation can be easily resolved. Communication is key, especially with people you have to see five days out of the week.
DON’T LET OTHERS DISTRACT YOU FROM YOUR TASK
Blaming others for coming up short on a project is a poor excuse. It’s like someone saying they couldn’t get to work on time because their roommate didn’t wake them up that morning. You are responsible for you and regardless of whether or not someone in the next cubicle talks on the phone all day or plays their music too loud, “You don’t let them distract you from what you got to do,” says Lil Jon. Coming in early, staying late or using headphones to block people out are all options for staying focused. At the end of the day, most bosses don’t care how the work gets done as long as it’s on time and in good shape. Your noisy cube mate may be behind on work but that doesn’t mean you have to.
YOU HAVE TO BE PATIENT
Frustration in the workplace is, well, frustrating. It’s easy for tempers to flare up when communication is choppy and when personalities clash with others. Sometimes it takes a while for everyone to get into a groove and that’s why keeping your cool until then is important. “If you don’t have a lot of patience for people that are all over the place then you’re [in trouble],” says Lil Jon. “You got to have a certain kind of patience… If you got a short temper or fuse you ain’t going to able to deal with it.”