As you work, have you ever encountered a situation and thought, “this is absurd”? It may be a cynical reaction to the situation. However, it also may be a reaction worth paying some attention to. Absurd means wildly unreasonable, illogical, or inappropriate. That’s not too far out considering what you can encounter in your work, is it? You may dismiss an absurd situation as out of the norm, let it go or try to explain it away.
Looking carefully at a situation that strikes you as absurd, could give you some valuable insights about your workplace, let you see things as they really are or help you assess whether your organization is a match for you.
“If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.” ― Albert Einstein
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How do you handle surprises? Surprises show up at work and how you respond to them matters. Here are 5 ways to respond effectively to surprises:
1. Recognize that you are surprised and don’t react impulsively. Collect yourself before you respond.
2. Identify how you feel about the surprise. Is it good for you? Or bad?
3. Assess the best way to respond to the surprise.
4. Respond clearly and directly.
5. Pick up any pieces and move on.
It certainly is helpful to have allies in your work. You may have found some. You may also have learned some difficult lessons about perceived allies’ authenticity, hidden agendas and loyalty. What criteria do you use in considering whether someone is an ally at work? Your criteria should be well thought out and protective of your interests. If you consider someone an ally and they are not, they can do some real damage.
Your allies should be proven before you consider them so. Some people may be allies only in certain situations, usually because your self-interests align. Some people may be collaborators, yet not true allies.
Trust and loyalty are key ingredients in an alliance and must be maintained. Too much is at stake. Some say that trust and loyalty are not values that are honored in the workplace. They can be. Honoring these values and having true allies needs your constant assessment, as well as your emotional intelligence. When you do find true allies, you are a lucky one!
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Do you work with a bully? Bullies do not have real power – they depend on your fear, discomfort or belief in their power over you. If you give power to a bully, they usually run with it.
Stay aware that you have power and choice in any situation. Self-respect, staying calm and managing your emotions are powerful antidotes to a workplace bully.
Check out my animation on How To Deal With A Bully Boss!
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For generations, many organizations have relied on hierarchical structures. Hierarchies arrange organizations in a linear fashion and according to their designations of relative importance. Authority is paramount. People are “over” others and ranked determinedly. Hierarchies create a level of order, but also are confining and can limit innovation.
A group named The Next System Project has been looking at alternatives to current systems and recently sketched a model for a Participatory Workplace. Their concepts are quite a departure from hierarchical models, with democratically determined compensation and decision-making and emphasis on empowerment and engagement of all workers.
Changing workplace systems is no small undertaking. It is worthwhile to be aware of what new ideas are out there and also to look carefully at what type of organizational system you want to work within.
Change is all around us. My guess is that we may soon see hierarchical structures begin to fade as workers become more independent, we increase our focus on balance and technology empowers workers at all levels.
What do you think?
In a past post, Do You Ever Feel Fear At Work? I looked at how feeling fear can be a destructive force. The flip side is if we, as managers, create fear in others. For me, creating fear serves no good purpose. It is effective for some in maintaining control but, essentially, it is bullying that has no place in our workplaces.
Good managing involves building a team, not breaking people down. How do managers create fear in others? They create an environment of insecurity, where team members do not know where they stand and feel their position is tenuous. They threaten people, subtly or overtly. They let their emotions run wild, intimidating others. They create uncertainty, without providing leadership.
Do you think you create fear in others? Is it intentional? Could you be creating fear subconsciously? It takes courage to manage openly, respecting others and maintaining your and their integrity. Do you have the courage to eliminate fear from your workplace?
photo: Victor Habbick, FreeDigitalPhotos.net
In our world today, force is often equated with power. I’m not so sure they are the same. Force is defined as coercion or compulsion. Power is defined as the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events. In managing, there is merit in distinguishing between the two and in going for power rather than force.
You can see the difference, I’m sure. If you look at your style as a manager or professional, do you lean more toward force or power? Force involves pushing. Power involves directing or influencing. The experiences and responses of those on the receiving ends of force and power are markedly different. Cultivate your power as a manager or professional. It will far out-distance the use of force.
How about your workplace? Do you see more use of power or force?
photo: Stuart Miles, FreeDigitalPhotos.net
As I was writing my last blog post about being “hooked” by emotional issues that come up when you are coaching someone, I thought that it is not just during coaching that emotions can hook us.
How often are your emotions present during your workday? Once emotions are present they can hook you, leading possibly to losing your center, reacting in an inappropriate way or taking offense. Emotional self-awareness is called for to avoid emotional hooks. Emotions can be a runaway train, but when you are aware and in the driver’s seat you can manage your emotions and avoid being “hooked”.
Have any emotions hooked you this week?
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Judgment comes naturally. It is an important ability when it comes to your own actions. Judgment of others, however, is a different thing. The judgments you make of others inform the actions you take and the strategies you develop. They had better be accurate.
Limited information, ignited emotions and internal biases can easily skew your judgments of other people and situations. Judgments must be seen for what they are; they are not facts, but your perception. Exercising caution and diligence in your judgment of others can serve you well.
Keep your judgments of others as objective as you can. Get the facts that are available, make them from a centered place and do not confuse them with truth. Judgments have their own power and are best arrived at carefully.
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Stubborn: having or showing dogged determination not to change one’s attitude or position on something, especially in spite of good arguments or reasons to do so.
What’s the impact of stubbornness in the workplace? Stubbornness slows things down. It causes arguments and clashes. But stubbornness does not always exist in the face of good arguments or reasons. Sometimes, stubbornness is due to the courage of a person’s convictions or fault lines that exist in others’ arguments or reasoning.
Are you stubborn? How do you respond to the stubbornness of others? An accusation of stubbornness can be subjective, as who is to say whether one’s attitude or position goes against reason or facts? Perhaps the best way to deal with stubbornness in yourself or others is to ignore its presence and continue on to the center of an issue by keeping dialogue going and working to understand others’ positions. Stubbornness is an obstacle you are better off without.
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