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Archive for the ‘Organizational Behavior’ Category

Being Generationally Biased Without Realizing It

I recently found myself feeling offended when a young person I know, and dance with weekly, questioned why I was still out later in the evening. When I asked him why he questioned this, he said “I’m young….” not going any further. I don’t think he realized how offensive his comments were in what he was implying. I wonder how many of us do this on a daily basis without realizing the impact these types of comments can have.

No sooner can unfiltered statements create issues than in the workplace and interacting closely with a diverse group. An off-handed comment can really upset someone and can lead to a host of problems and poor working relationships. I saw this in the classroom years ago with a graduate class I was teaching, of which three generations were present. A Baby Boomer referred to her younger coworkers as ‘those kids’ followed by a negative example of something they did/didn’t do.

Her younger peers then shot back with their example of how an older peer couldn’t get a ‘simple’ computer command to which she took offense. I literally had to intervene and reset the tone for the class but I think this can show that while we may have good intentions, our words – and tone- can turn them into a detriment. Hard feelings can result, which can turn into not wanting to interact or work with that person, and can then lead to poor team performance.

The next time you say something, take time to think about how your are saying it, what your body language is conveying, or if it needs to be said at all. Use the mirroring technique to reflect back what you heard as this can affirm if what you heard was correct or to get clarification. If you take offense, check yourself as to why, i.e. not wanting to be boxed in to a specific attribute, feeling categorized as ‘too young’ or ‘too old,’ etc. These can help to begin breaking down those biases for better interactions.

When Our Differences Matter

I’m sure by now you’ve seen the tragedies which occurred here in Orlando over the weekend; the first with The Voice’s Christina Grimmie being shot after a concert, and then the biggest massacre in U.S. history took place Saturday night. We still don’t have all the details despite living here. One fact, however, does seem clear at least in one respect, is that the motivation for this was a hate crime.

Apparently the shooter was so angry at those who had a sexual orientation different than he, that for some unknown reason he felt compelled to take action against them. This is a scary thought, that  a person’s differences can compel another to lash out against them in some way. Differences include: race, gender, religion, political affiliation and, one of the more recent generational differences, which is where there are presumptions and judgements to how one thinks and behaves based on their age. These judgements lead to conflicts of some type, which can get taken out of context, even leading to retaliations against a coworker or a boss.

While we need to practice more tolerance and acceptance, awareness is a key factor – knowing and understanding how someone is different can help to stop the presumptions and judgements of others. Differences don’t mean ‘bad’ – they just mean we are …different. Others are raised in a different environment and who developed their own opinions, beliefs, values and the like. Frankly, even in our families we are different and will never see situations the same because no one has our eyes and interpretations of events, which then lead to these beliefs we have.

It is when we are not willing to be more aware of the differences and be willing to understand and then accept them that problems occur. Our minds have this way of rejecting facts if our beliefs do not match, even if the proof is there. This level of denial that occurs, for whatever reason, prevents us from really seeing the truth so we fall back on what we know (or want to believe). Then, rationalization comes into play to justify our belief system (and resulting actions) to help us live with those actions.

When we make judgements, are intolerant, hold grudges, and then retaliate in some way (does not always have to be overt), then this is when our differences do matter. We cannot deny the fact that we are different but it will lead us to be more aware, open, accepting and tolerant of others. We will then develop strategies to interact more positively, in spite of these differences and have more harmony in ourselves, in our interactions with others, and in our lives overall.

 

How to Deal with “One of Those Days”

Have you ever had ‘one of those days?’ You know, the ones where the day starts out not on a good note and goes downhill from there?  It seems that no matter how positive and calm you remain, nothing seems to work to feel better? And the more you try to overcome, the more irritated you become – the boss or a coworker irritates you; you can’t seem to focus to get your work done; or you just want to start the day over.

I have to admit that today is one of those days for me. I somehow overlooked the fact that my alarm clock was still set to weekend time, so I woke up later than I anticipated, not getting some tasks done before I went into my office. Then, I had a plumbing problem, so I left the floor wet, to later feel very irritated that I rushed only to have a scheduled client having to reschedule. My computer is running slower than I’d like, only adding to my frustrations; I just feel really edgy, which is not a good feeling when more clients are ahead and I need to be open to them.

If you’ve had one of those days, and not sure how to resolve or feel better, here are some tips I use that may help you as well – the more you use them, the better you will feel:

  • Breathe – this is one of the fastest ways that helps me feel calmer immediately as it allows oxygen to get into your system and helps the stress chemical Cortisol to move throughout the body and do the job it’s meant to do, which is to relax
  • Visualization – while I’m breathing, I allow my visual field to ‘see’ happy pictures, which may be colors or my dog, or even a beach scene; sometimes I use the visuals to create the calming scene I envision. This may or may not work for everyone at first but with practice can
  • Write – this really helps to release any negative feelings and see things from a different perspective. Getting any negative or racing thoughts out will not allow them to stay in the head, which is a great way to let things go as well as both challenging thoughts and coming up with strategies/solutions to those bad situations that led me to feel poorly (note to self: make sure to check the clock on Sunday night)
  • Go Outside – I find this also to be an immediate relaxer, particularly standing in fresh air and in sunlight. We take in both the rays from the sun, which helps with Vitamin D levels and taking in oxygen, both which are natural calmers
  • Gratitude – taking the focus off of negative situations and placing them on to positive thoughts and perhaps lessons learned from the negatives, helps to see that I do have a good life in spite of setbacks. It makes me realize that I’ve been through adversity before and not only survived, but thrived, and will today. I always feel positive after this practice, which has now become a daily habit for me

If you’d like help to increase your workplace performance and job satisfaction, while decreasing your stress level, contact us today for your Complementary Discovery Session: http://www.cyscoaching.com.

It’s March Madness – Don’t Allow it in the Workplace

I’m not necessarily a basketball fan, but March Madness is in play – this is when men’s basketball competes to be named the best. It’s been dubbed ‘madness’ as anything can – and does- happen with winners and losers never being a sure bet.

The workplace can seem as if you’re in a ‘March Madness’ type of environment: overworked, under-appreciated, and underpaid. You might see coworkers getting promotions or ripe opportunities or good workers become complacent or laid off. For s0me, this might be the end/beginning of the fiscal year so the pressure is on. You start to question: “When will the madness stop?”

While you can’t control any of these situations that arise, you can control how you perceive them; you can view these as stressors or negative experiences or you can choose to detach from them and see them in a more positive light. We can control our thoughts and viewpoints if we choose to. The more negative we think about a situation, the more negative it becomes, which then becomes a belief which are the hardest to change.

If you find yourself in a negative situation, ask yourself what benefit you are getting from keeping this frame of mind and what leads you to think this way. You might uncover a fear of some kind (layoff, worry about money, jealousy, etc.) for which you can then work to resolve. Continue asking how you can reframe your thoughts and detach from the situation, focusing more on your work and using the skills and talents you have to increase your performance, thereby increasing your self-efficacy (self-belief).

When you do, your confidence and security will increase, as well as your performance and mastery. You don’t have to allow the madness of the workplace to affect you in a negative way. You do have control so make the decision today to “Stop the Madness.”

If you’re ready to stop hating your job and learn how to take back the control, contact us today for your Complementary Discovery Session: http://www.cyscoaching.com.

Using Outside Projects to Enhance Your Career

Do you ever wonder how you can increase your skill-set or knowledge base at work? Do you ever wonder how you can get extra experience so you can move to another level in your career path? Ever feel frustrated that you’re not getting recognized for the work you currently do?

One of the best ways to get positive answers to these questions is to find an outside work-related project which relates to what you are currently doing and/or involves skills that complement and grow your current skills. If you took on an outside project, such as through volunteering or freelancing, you would enhance your skills and get needed experience.

For example, you might work in a call center but wish to move into the training field, you’ve been told you don’t have enough experience.You’ve helped others acclimate to their job or job tasks – essentially training – and would like to do this full-time but you don’t see anyway to move into a training position.

If you got involved and sought out opportunities, it would give you the needed skills as well as experience. It is an enhancement to what you are currently doing and will give you not just experience but confidence and mastery of the skills you want to move into. Another example is leadership, which a lot of workers aspire to; if you can look at the big picture that organizations don’t just need leaders, they need great leaders which does not come easily to the mass majority. Determining a leader style and finding ways to hone those skills will get you noticed to move into a leader position.

Taking the initiative and focusing on your professional development will reap you great rewards. Some ideas to find outside projects include:

  • Professional Organizations – these offer many opportunities to get involved by volunteering for committees or taking on leadership roles on the Board. Some positions to consider: Officer level, steering committees, membership/welcoming committees (for new members), special interest groups, education committee.
  • Community Organizations – these include: Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce, Girls/Boy Clubs, Girl/Boy Scouts, American Cancer Society, etc. These are great ways to serve your community, network, and gain valuable experience – and network connections – that can make a difference and be an enhancement to your career
  • Freelancing – there are numerous cites to find freelance work, which basically means you work on a project for a fee. You could do work for a friend, a nonprofit or small business, or sites such as freelance.com, elance.com, guru.com
  • Family/friends – offer to help out someone you know with something they’ve wanted to take on; teach them how to set up a social media site, or write a blog article for them.

These are just a few ideas to help you get started thinking of how you can leverage your skills and talents and that will enhance your the work you do. Having an end-goal in mind, i.e. the benefit you will get, will keep you focused and motivated and translate into the work you do.

 

How the Mood of a Leader Attributes to Workplace Behaviors and Culture

If you’re like most people, you have probably worked in an environment that was less than positive, perhaps even toxic. Workplace environment and culture are critical elements for workplace happiness. One can love the work they do but, if there is misalignment with the environment, then dissatisfaction will result.

The mood of a leader attributes to the environment and for how employees behave; they set the tone for the type of culture overall of the organization. Since they are the one in charge, how they think and act will not only set the tone but model behaviors of their workers. If John comes in to work in a bad mood because he didn’t sleep well, then that negative mood will set the tone for the day: employees begin to spread the word that ‘the boss is in a bad mood so keep on the down-low.’ Now the office mood starts out with fear and dread. Not a good way to get the day going.

As is our natural tendency, we do take on emotions and energy from others – some individuals are more affected than others, i.e. empaths. A leader’s mood and behaviors can either have an adverse or a positive effect on how and when the work gets done. It can also be a predictor for absenteeism, turnover and high levels of disengagement which all affect the bottom line of the organization.

If you are a leader, it’s time to check your mood before you walk in the door:

  • is there anything bothering or stressing you out (deadlines, bills, family, etc.)?
  • can you resolve the situation prior to the workday or after (solutions)?
  • what is the tone you want to set for the day and for your workers (calm, energized, fun, etc.)?

Being aware of how your own mood and behaviors is the biggest step to take in creating a workplace culture of happy and high-performing workers. We are not always aware of how we come across to others so self-awareness is critical to creating happy workplaces. Wake up and determine it will be a great day and you will be walking in the door with a smile on your face; watch as the mood and behavior of workers follows.

If you’d like help in developing your leadership skills, or in your organization, contact us today for a free Discovery Session to learn more: http://www.cyscoaching.com. Be the leader you’re meant to be!

Are You Creating a Culture of Fear in Your Organization?

I was talking to a coaching client the other day who discussed changes going on in their organization and how they were seeing ‘odd’ behaviors from employees, which included being less engaged in their work and more demanding in their wants and needs. Upon further exploration with this client, it became apparent that they were  (the organization) was creating a fear-based culture.

When change occurs, it is a natural response to resist it to some level; for some, it can be an immediate rejection while for others they may need some time to mull over changes and their implications – some will embrace them while others will reject in the end.

When an organization is undergoing any type of change from the norm, or the ‘what has always worked’ it can be hard to accept the new, particularly if that is unknown. This was the elephant in the room that no one in the organization was discussing: communicating any changes with employees regarding what they were, what would change, what would now be implemented, and how the organization would help employees through the change.

When employees are unaware and uninformed it can create anxiety within employees as well as misperceptions and assumptions that can spin out-of-control if not addressed. “Will I lose my job?” “What if I don’t like the new boss (policies, systems, etc.) they bring in?” I like my routine – how will it change?” These are just a few of many questions employees may be wondering; if no answer comes from above they will find their own – which is not good overall.

To alleviate any misunderstandings and help employees adapt and adopt to any changes, the easiest and most effective way it to talk to them. When workers feel that they are cared about and communicated with they will perform to a higher level. Letting them know why the changes are occurring is a big step to alleviating any resistance; other steps to take would include: what will the new change be (within a range if unable to divulge), what their roles will/won’t include, when the changes will begin to start as well as allowing them time to voice their opinions/concerns.

Helping employees to navigate changes will help the organization navigate them as well.

If you’d like help with change management strategies, call today for a free Discovery Session to learn more:  http://www.cyscoaching.com. where you can also sign up for our weekly newsletter.

 

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