Category Archives: Leadership

Is Your Saw Sharp? It’s Time to Sharpen Your Saw!

Is Your Saw Sharp?
Sharpen The Saw is the # 7th Habit in Stephen Covey’s bestselling book – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
In explaining the 7th Habit, Covey tells the story of a wood cutter who spent hours sawing away at a tree. He was strained and exhausted. A young man walks up to him and asked him what he was doing. He responded- isn’t it obvious, I am cutting down the tree. The young man says- you look tired, why don’t you sharpen the saw. Why don’t you rest?
The old man responded- I don’t have to sharpen my saw. I don’t have time to rest.
I have to cut down this tree.

I don’t know about you, but I have shown up as this woodcutter in both my personal and professional life to the detriment to myself.

So, my question for you is- Are your that woodcutter? Do you need to sharpen your saw?

Watch This Video to Understand How You Can Keep Your Saw Sharp

Until next time, Remember, ItsALearningLife4Real!

I Don’t Trust You: How to Rebuild Trust

Humpty Dumpty Had A Great Fall
Humpty Dumpty Has A Great Fall

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpy had a great fall, All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t get Humpty together again.”

Unknown

For me, the Humpty Dumpty nursery rhyme is great illustration of what happens when trust is violated or broken. Whether the relationship is personal or professional, things fall apart when promises are broken, commitments are not honored, lies are told, information is withheld, confidence is betrayed and people or their actions are willfully misrepresented by others. Regardless of the circumstance, the results of broken trust are division, doubt, fear, insecurity, hurt, bitterness, stress, resentment and unhealthy interactions or relationships.

What Happens When Trust is Broken?

In my last post, I wrote about how everything we do revolves about trust.  I explained the dynamics of how trust works and how it shows up in our everyday lives. In this article, I want to continue the conversation by looking at what happens when trust is broken and what it takes to rebuild it. Whether the relationship is personal or professional, the consequences of broken trust can be high and long-lasting. Violated trust can result in toxic work environments, divorce, broken friendships, terminated business arrangements and an overall suspicion or distrust of others as everything becomes more difficult without trust. I can still remember one of my most painful experiences with violated trust. It happened with a friend I had long regarded as a sister and had never imagined would hurt me in the way she did. Regardless of the motive behind her actions, whether she meant to hurt me or not, the pain I experienced from the betrayal was devastating.

The effect of broken trust is not just restricted to personal relationships. Most of the tensions and problems in interpersonal relationships at work are a product of ‘professional hurt’ arising from a feeling of distrust that a team member(s) might have about another’s willingness or readiness to support them. Distrust in teams can also be a consequence of decisions or actions taken that can seem threatening or inconsiderate of employee well-being or might emerge from a disappointing experience of having been let down by management. Regardless of the reason for the distrust, the cost to business is high as the efficiency of the team and overall performance of the organization can be crippled by the absence of trust. And this can quickly spiral into loss of productivity as employees lose psychological safety, operate in silos and struggle with sharing information and knowledge to work together successfully.

Trust-Road Split in Two-Image
Trust -Road Split in Two

Can Trust Be Rebuilt?

Recently, I was having a conversation with a friend about the topic of trust. He adamantly expressed that once trust is broken, it can never return to its original form or level.  When I asked him how so, he explained that his father had once told him that trust and virginity operated on the same principle- it does not come back after you have lost it. I chuckled at his perspective which represented a new and different way of thinking about the implications of broken trust. So, I asked him if he believed that trust once could be regain after it was broken. He then explained that while trust can be rebuilt in a relationship, it would always be limited (and not absolute as it originally was) since the person whose trust was violated would always harbor doubt at the back of his/her mind.

While his perspective on what happens when trust is violated might sound cynical, the implications of broken trust are indeed far reaching, and relationships are irrevocably changed when and where this breach occurs. For example, there are many couples who work through issues of infidelity to forge stronger bonds and relationships while others do not survive. Whether the relationship is personal or professional, the pain and hurt of broken trust can blind people from ever seeing objectively again, hold them prisoners to doubt and fear and render them incapable of moving forward.

Our inability to trust or form trusting relationships can also date back to our childhood days and travel with us into adulthood. Child psychologists argue that babies learn self-confidence and to trust their environment from the very early stages of their development. If a baby cries and is picked up, the baby learns to trust that someone will come to their aid. Correspondingly, when a baby cries and no one responds, that baby will feel unsafe and become wired to doubt their environment and the world around them. Trust issues are also common amongst people who struggle with abandonment (emotionally or physically), loss of a loved one or some other type of trauma during their early years.

Quite often the people who break trust expect the persons affected by their actions to just get over it and move on. Unfortunately, restoring trust is neither that simple nor easy. When one person is deeply offended or disappointed by the actions of another, they might forgive the person and still struggle with forgetting the past and letting go of the pain associated with the experience. This can then lead the individuals to develop deep seated trust issues that prevent them from trusting others and even undermine their own confidence in their ability to make good choices and accurate judgements about people.

Rebuild-Wooden Building Blocks-Image
Rebuild-Wooden Building Blocks

Tips for Rebuilding Trust

Without vision people perish and without trust relationships are doomed. So, since we cannot operate effectively without trust, how do we rebuild trust that has been broken or built it anew? The answer to this question might lie in the same measure we use to determine whether we can trust someone- that is by their character and their competence. For instance, when my daughter messes up, she is always quick to say, “I’m sorry”.  Her apology to me is always met with my standard response which is -if you are sorry, change your behavior.  I then go on to explain to her that while it is important to always say sorry when she does something wrong, apologizing is not enough. To restore my confidence in her, she will need to back up her words with actions that demonstrate a commitment to making good choices regardless of whether I or someone else is watching.  Simply put she must walk the talk and do what she says she will do.

While there are no quick fixes or overnight solutions to rebuilding trust, here a few tips in no particular order which can help you restore trust or strengthen it:

  1. Be honest: I firmly believe that honest is a sign of respect and that we do not do anyone a favor by misrepresenting the truth or lying to maintain the peace or avoid hurt feelings. If you want people to trust you, you must demonstrate integrity and talk straight.
  2. Admit your wrong: You cannot be wrong and strong. “If you mess up, fess up” and hold yourself accountable for your mistakes and failures and ask for forgiveness. Take responsibility for your actions without pointing fingers or making excuses for your actions. If you are unclear about the situation, ask the person- what did I do to hurt you?
  3. Make amends: For the person who caused the hurt, there must be ownership and acknowledgement of the impact of one’s action, backed by strong remorse and a genuine resolve to change behaviors as evidenced by their actions now and in the future.
  4. Forgive:  Making the choice to forgive is not easy and can seem as if the other person is getting off the hook. However, this is about forgiving yourself for trusting the person as well as forgiving the person for hurting you. The key here is to remember that forgiveness is for you. It allows you to let go of all the negativity and toxic emotions associated with whatever was done to you.
  5. Be open: Adapt a mindset that what you see is what you get. Be real about who you are and what you represent. Accept yourself for what and who you are and do the same for others. People will not trust who you pretend to be.  
  6. Communicate expectations: This will require you to be assertive and clear about your needs and expectations of others or what you might need to feel safe. Don’t deny your feelings, name the emotions and share them. Do not expect people to read your mind, speak up.
  7. Keep your promises:  This comes down to your personal integrity. Are you trustworthy? Do you trust yourself? Do you do what you say you will do? Is there evidence in your life to support who you say you are?
  8. Be Patient: For the person who suffered hurt, trusting again will takes time, courage, and vulnerability to open oneself to the prospects of being hurt again. Give yourself and the other person time and a real chance to heal and recover.

In conclusion, can trust be restored?  I believe so. We as humans are resilient and have the capacity to learn, unlearn, love, and forgive. Trust is no different. But bear in mind that there are no guarantees that we will not break trust or be hurt again when our trust is broken. However, if we behave in ways that demonstrate openness, trustworthiness, and consistency, we can regain trust and strengthen it. After all, as Oprah Winfrey says, “In the end, all you have is your reputation.”

Until next time, Remember, It’s A Learning Life!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

The Truth About Trust !(Part 1)

Trust and Truth-Wooden Building Blocks
Truth and Trust-Wooden Building Blocks

Everything in our lives revolves around trust. We trust the police to protect and serve us. We trust teachers to educate our children, doctors, and medical practitioners to give us the right diagnosis and take care of us when we are ill and banks and investment instruments to keep our money safe. We trust stoplights to prevent chaos at intersections and other drivers to comply with the rules of the road. We trust pilots and airplanes, GPS, Alexa and Google to provide us with accurate information. And for those of us who are believers, we trust God or whatever name you call that higher power.

Truth is, the quality of our interactions and relationships are based on the degree to which we feel we can place our confidence in others. Supervisors who do not trust their teams are more likely to micromanage. People who do not trust their partners are more likely to be insecure, question their every move or sneak around trying to get information. If you do not trust a product or service, you are unlikely to buy it. And business that operate in low trust environments, spend way more money on security to protect their assets and customers. Fact is- trust affects everything -who we chose to be in relationship with, where we look for for help, who we confide in, who we do business with, where we spend/save our money, the products we consume and even the jobs we leave or take.

Since trust is such a complex and heavy topic to navigate, I wanted to break it down and explore it in two parts. Part 1 will focus on understanding the concept of trust and why trust matters, while Part 2 will dive into what happens when trust is broken and how to fix or rebuild it.

Definition of Trust-Image
Definition- of- Trust-Image

What Trust Really Means?

Dictionary.com  defines trust as the “firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.” Trust involves two components: competence and character. Character speaks to the traits or qualities that describe a person such as whether they are kind, honest, reliable, or loyal. Whereas competence describes one’s ability, knowledge, or skill in a particular area. So, if someone is highly skilled and talented but has a reputation for being late and unprepared would you hire them? If you had a friend that was kind and generous but was inconsistent and never kept their word, how would you feel about that relationship? Or what about the person who does not hold him/herself accountable for completing his/her work on time and is always making excuses or pointing fingers? And what about the supervisor or team member who isn’t open or honest? Would you trust them? You can like or admire people for their personality or talent and not trust them. Keep in mind that people will not trust you if you have competence but no character or character and no competence. Trust requires both.

Elephant and Giraffe Walking A Tightrope-Image
Elephant- and -Giraffe- Walking- A -Tightrope-Image

Can I Trust You, Can You Trust Me?

Every day we make decisions on who and what to trust. Our choices are not entirely random because we trust some brands, products, people, and companies more than others. When we trust a person or company, our interactions tend to be more positive, relaxed, quicker and without hassle. The same is true at work. When we work with people we trust, morale is high, productivity increases, turnover is low and team members are more open to sharing information and creative ideas as they collaborate to get the work done. However, things get trickier when we do not trust the persons, businesses, or products that we are dealing with. Where there is little or no trust, people doubt each other and interactions prove to be more difficult, time consuming and stressful. Conversations are strained and are more likely to be plagued by mistakes, communication breakdowns thereby becoming a kind of self- fulfilling prophecy.

Trusting someone can be risky because people are unpredictable, and you cannot guarantee anyone’s behavior. When we put our hope or confidence in someone else, we are hoping for the best outcome. Besides, trust is situational. You can trust someone in one situation and not trust them in another. There are situations and people that I do not trust myself with and there are people I trust to do some things and not others. Afterall, I would not trust my electrician to do a root canal.

Another important thing to remember is that trust is fragile. Trust takes time to build and is meaningful and rewarding by the comfort and security it brings to the different types of relationships. However, this trust can be easily shattered by unfulfilled promises, unmet expectations and when people fail to do what they said they would do. Additionally, trust is not a one-way street, and requires reciprocity since it takes two to tango. And even though you might consider yourself a trustworthy person, from time to time you might find yourself interacting with people who do not trust you because of who you are or what you represent. In those situations, it is important to be patient and try to not take it personally.

My Story-Image
My -Story-Image

Why is Trust Important?

My earliest and most significant understanding and lessons on trust started at about 10 years old. My guardian or Mama was the owner and operator of a small business which was the main Shop & Bar in our small rural community. Mama was a shrewd and respected businesswoman, well known for not tolerating foolishness. The shop was open as early as 6.00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. on weekdays and from 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on weekends. Mama believed in customer service and rarely ever departed from these hours as she strongly believed that the shop should always be open and ready to serve the community. The challenge with this situation was that Mama could not do it alone but she did not trust most of her close family members to help her. Her open distrust of these close relatives was a result of numerous bad experiences where money had been stolen, and goods had often gone missing after certain persons had helped her out in the shop.

As a the informally adopted member of the family, I was loyal to mama and became her de facto shopkeeper assistant. When Mama need to get some rest or to take a break, I was called away from play to operate the shop. When I got home from school in the evenings, I would have to change my clothes, eat dinner and report to the shop with my homework and on weekends when business was booming, I also had to perform my shopkeeper assistant duties to help out. By the age 12, I could run the entire operations by myself and was often required to cover for Mama when she needed to be away. At first, I was resentful of my role since it meant that I could not play all the time with my friends. But as I matured, I began to understand that Mama had chosen me to be her helper because she trusted me and my abilities and that I would do her no harm. 

Over the years that followed, I too learned who to trust and who not to trust. In that, I knew who our loyal customers were, the ones who did not like to pay and would require me to painstakingly go over every detail on an invoice and others who only came to us when they wanted to credit goods. Overtime, our customers realized that though I was young, I was well trained and knew how to handle myself. As my confidence and their confidence in me as a shopkeeper grew, I would have customers approach me to credit them goods to be settled on their paydays. I used my own judgement to decide who I would extend this courtesy to since Mama did not know about these arrangements. Fortunately, I proved to be a good judge of character and did not have any problems securing payments for these accounts when they became due. Our business flourished and so did my relationships with Mama and the people in our community.

Now, when I look back to that experience, I value those early lessons on trust and now appreciate the importance of both character and competence as the foundations of building and maintaining trust and positive relationships . So here are my key takeaways on trust that I hope might be useful to you:

Key Takeaways

  1. Trust involves risk and is built over time.
  2. Relationships are powered by trust and will not grow or thrive without trust.
  3. Trust is fragile and when broken it can be difficult if not impossible to restore.
  4. Trust requires both character and competence. People will assess your trustworthiness based on your ability and your integrity. Do you do what you say you will do?
  5. Life is harder when we are surrounded by people we don’t or cant trust and the cost of doing business is higher when trust is low or lacking.

So, think about someone in your own circle that you trust or don’t trust. How well do you communicate with each other? How do you get things done? How would you describe those relationships? Stay tuned for next week post- I Don’t Trust You: How to Rebuild Trust (Part 2) where I’ll explore what happens when trust is broken and how to fix it.

Until next time, Remember, It’s A Learning Life!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.
Who-Moved-My- Cheese- 7-Tips- for- Dealing -with Change- Video

Critical Thinking Killers: Are You Guilty?

Fake or Fact-Wooden Building Blocks-Image
Fake- or- Fact -Wooden- Building -Blocks-Image

In this information age where we are overloaded with so much information at our fingertips, our ability to think critically is now more important than ever. It is easy to get to lost at sea or overwhelmed by the avalanche of information that comes to us daily, courtesy of traditional media sources such as TV and radio and social media sources as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. You can also add to that Siri, Google, Wikipedia and YouTube where you can easily find information on just about any topic you are interested in. And if the extraordinary access to multiple sources of information was not complicated enough, the information we receive changes so quickly that what we knew yesterday can become outdated and irrelevant tomorrow.  

Every day, we run the risk of getting caught in a tailspin just trying to keep up with everything that is going on in the world around us. This results in many of us feeling wired, stressed, depressed, anxious and uncertain about the future. So how do we make sense it all of this information? How do you evaluate what we read, see, and hear to determine what is accurate and reliable? How do we wade through the bias, political agendas, and conspiracy theories to form our own opinions, make decisions, and solve problems effectively?  Enter critical thinking!

Critical Thinking Infographic-Image
Critical -Thinking- Infographic

What is Critical Thinking?

Critical thinking is one of those skills we often talk about, believe we do well and can readily identify as lacking in someone else especially when problems are unsolved, issues are left unidentified and poor decisions or choices are made. However, critical thinking is not about criticizing something or someone, finding fault with a process and/or just voicing an opinion you heard from a friend, family member or trusted source. CriticalThinking.org   defines it as “that mode of thinking — about any subject, content, or problem — in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully analyzing, assessing, and reconstructing it.” Working with this definition, I believe it is safe to say that many of us spend a lot of time thinking and over processing, but struggle with thinking critically. This is partly due to our education and training which taught us what to think but not how to think.

Elements of Critical Thinking-Image
Elements- of -Thinking -Critically

Critical Thinking Killers: Are You Guilty?

Critical thinking killers are those behaviors we do daily which limit our ability to think critically. So, think about the last decision you made or problem you had to solve? How did you go about it? Did you gather the information and objectively look at the pros and cons? Did you ask questions to get additional information? Did you verify the source of the information you were basing your decision on, or did you act on your gut feeling or what a friend or family member told you? Making assumptions, jumping to conclusions, reacting emotionally and not being able to distinguish between facts or fake news are obvious indicators that you might not be thinking critically about a particular situation, individual or issue.

However, some of the main critical thinking killers that we commit everyday have to do with one or all the following:

  • Over Reliance on Authority: This is the tendency for us to see people in authority as the source of all wisdom and knowledge. We probably learned this tendency early in life when most of us were taught to not question or challenge authority- whether it was our parents, teachers, pastors, politicians, or public figures. Critical thinking does not work in environments where you cannot ask questions and challenge ideas or in spaces where people do not feel safe to speak up and express their thoughts.
  • Black/White Thinking: The comes from a us versus them mentality or a either-or way of thinking that embraces the view that the choice of one thing excludes or negates the other. This approach to dealing with people and issues can stifle critical thinking since it fails to acknowledge complexity and ambiguous.  
  • Hasty Moral Judgements: We all have our own ideas of what we believe to be right and wrong. This is normal and fine. However, quick moral judgments become a barrier to critical thinking when we make assumptions about people, places and things on the basis of limited observation, the opinions of others and our personal preferences. These snap verdicts can prove especially problematic when they inform how we treat others and respond to issues.
  • Labels: As we interact with the world around us, we attach labels such as good, bad, healthy unhealthy, positive, or negative to everything. When we do this, we form stereotypes, lump things and people together and make generalized statements that are unhelpful and untrue, thereby by undermining our ability to practice critical thinking.
  • Resistance to Change:  Change is hard and at some point or the other, we have all been guilty of resisting change in both our personal and professional life. We demonstrate our resistance to change by responding instantly and negatively to ideas, beliefs and attitudes that do not line up with our own. When this behavior is driven by our emotions, it becomes hard for us to apply critical thinking to make sound and rational decisions.   
 Questions about the COVID-19 Vaccine-Image
People -Questions About the COVID-19 Vaccine

Critical Thinking and the COVID-19 Vaccine

As COVID-19 vaccines become increasingly more available, we will all have to decide whether to take the  vaccine or not. While this is a touchy issue for some, it is one we will need to think critically about as we determine how to continue to protect ourselves, our families and by extension the community. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an increase in people across the world voicing opposition to vaccinations (Anti Vaxxers). But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and scientists and governments across the world scrambled to develop a vaccine to halt the spread of the coronavirus, the anti-vaccine sentiment went up a thousand-fold. Since then, we have been bombarded with all kinds of conspiracy theories about the vaccine, news about side effects, as well as mixed messages from people in authority to include religious leaders, politicians and even trusted friends and family.  

Even in my own circle, I have heard some persons voice strong objections to the vaccine due to the unanswered questions, uncertainty about its effectiveness, as well as genuine fears about how it might impact their bodies and health in the future. On the other hand, I also have friends and coworkers who have taken at least two of the three vaccines available in the U.S. with no complaints or remorse. So how do you cut through the noise to decide on taking the vaccine or any other issue you might be dealing with?

I’ll admit that at first, I also had reservations about taking the vaccine. This was because I didn’t have full information about the vaccines available and I wanted to play the wait and see game to assess if and when anything went wrong. And since I have working from home and have been taking all the necessary precautions, I felt reasonably safe. But recently, I had to reassess my position when I was faced with the prospect of returning to the office and given an opportunity to sign up for the vaccine. Was I going to take it? If yes, why and if not, what was driving my decision? Was it fear of possible harmful side effects or the undue influence of friends and family? What information did I have, or what additional information did I need? And what if I did not take it and got sick, would it have been worth it? What are the benefits? Does my faith affect my decision? After running myself through this process of questioning- I made the decision to register to get my shot.

Though your decision about the COVID-19 vaccine or the variables you might need to consider in your next decision(Or whatever you are dealing with) might be different from mine, your ability to think critically, suspend judgement and process information to arrive at the right decision will be important. Here are a few questions that you can use to strengthen your critical thinking skills and make the right decisions for you:

  • What information or data do I have or need?  
  • What could go wrong if I make this decision? What are the possible negatives?
  • What are the positives and benefits of making this decision?
  • Is there another way of looking at this? What are my alternatives?
  • How do I feel about this? What is my sixth sense/intuition or gut feeling?
  • What will I do next? How will I put my plan into action?

In closing, I cannot make any of your decisions for you, nor am I recommending a band-aid to solve any of your problems. So, the next time you have a problem to solve or a decision to make, I urge you to use these tips to think critically. Should you do so, I’m confident that you will end up much better outcomes.

Until next time, Remember, It’s A Learning Life!

Watch & Subscribe to My YouTube for More Personal Growth & Professional Development Insights!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Quit the Blame Game: Tag You Are It!

It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.

Excerpt from Invictus -William Ernest Henley
Hello, I Am Accountable-Name Tag-Image
Hello, I Am Accountable-Name Tag

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about accountability, specifically personal accountability, and the implications for when and where it does or does not exist. When people hold themselves accountable, it shows up as taking ownership of their jobs, acknowledging responsibility for when things go wrong, choosing to learn from failures and improve and simply saying I am sorry. On the other hand, when people fail to hold themselves accountable for their actions, behaviors, and choices, you end up getting excuses, procrastination, blaming, victim thinking, and the list goes on. Regardless of where you fall on the scale of personal accountability, the level of success you achieve, your sense of fulfillment and the overall quality of your life and relationships might very well depend on it.

What is Personal Accountability?

According to MindTools, management consultant Todd Herman defined personal accountability as  ‘ being willing to answer for the outcomes resulting from your choices, behaviors and actions.” Therefore, personal accountability starts with each of us and places us squarely in the driver’s seat of the vehicle we call life. Yet, for some people, the word accountability is a bad word, and the idea of it (in whatever shape or form) produces anxiety and discomfort. For those people, being held accountable raises thoughts and feelings of inadequacy, fear, failure, or the perception of accountability as a form of corrective action. For others like myself, being held personally accountable is empowering and liberating, as it gives me a sense of direction and control over my life, my choices, and the inevitable results.

For this purposes of this post, I wanted to explore personal accountability and the ultimate responsibility we all have for our lives. Now, I have never fond of excuses. Growing up without both of my parents, I learned very early and quickly that a lot of things were going to be up to me. I remember making decisions about which high schools I wanted to attend, which extra-curricular activities I would participate in, organizing to attend field trips and making decisions on who would pick up my report card because my guardian could not.

This mindset of individual accountability travelled with me throughout my childhood to adulthood and even to my current roles as a single parent and working professional.  So, it is safe to say that, I have had lots of practice and taking personal accountability is not hard for me. However, this is not the case for everyone. We all come from different backgrounds with varied experiences that have shaped and influenced how we show up in our personal and professional lives.

Two Persons Pointing Fingers-Image
Two Persons Pointing Fingers

When Personal Accountability is Lacking

Earlier this year, I was talking to a friend about some challenges that he was experiencing. Turned out that his 2021 had started with a bang. He shared how everything was happening to him at the same time as he was experiencing serious difficulties in both his personal and professional life. The challenges had impacted his health and well-being, his job, and his personal relationships. I listened to him share and empathized with his situation out of the deep regard I have for him and our friendship. After the call, I could not shake the deep feeling of worry and frustration I felt for him.

Some of the challenges he described were not new and the writing had been on the wall. So, I sent him a text expressing my renewed concerns and reminded him that things were not just happening to him but that he had played a role in them. I asked him to reflect on how his actions had contributed to his current situation and encouraged him to take accountability. I hoped it would lead to change.  Recently, I checked on him to see how things were going. I was hoping for progress but from what I heard, not much had changed. He seemed to have a problem for every solution I tried to help him with and could hardly commit to taking much needed action to help himself. The conversation left me tired and frustrated.

Coming to terms with the consequences of our individual actions, decisions and choices is never easy but we are sometimes forced to. And when many of are faced with challenging or difficult situations, our first thoughts are usually defensive or negative (See previous post on Automatic Negative Thoughts). From the example of my friend, when we fail to hold ourselves accountable for our actions and circumstances, our responses can range from thoughts of blaming, victim thinking, and procrastination as described below.

Blaming: What do you do when something goes wrong in your relationships, finances, health or on the job? Do you acknowledge your role or responsibility or are you quick to point a finger to someone else or something else that went wrong? Finger pointing or blaming shifts the responsibility from you to others. Over time, this blame shifting catches up with you and will break trust and damage your relationships.

Victim Thinking/Mentality: This is the tendency for some people to see themselves as victims of other people actions or as ‘stuck’ in difficult situations.  People who take on this mindset are usually unhappy and dissatisfied with their lives and feel a sense of powerlessness to do anything to change it.  People who see themselves as victims take on sense of helplessness which limits their ability to hold themselves accountable for anything.

Procrastination:  Statements likewhen this happens, I’ll do that” … or “one of these days, I am going to start …” are good examples of procrastination. I have watched people wait and hope for the “right time” and delay taking required action by finding a problem for every possible solution. Every time, we choose to delay or postpone a decision that can help to advance our goals and dreams, we undermine our growth and set ourselves back.

Play Your Part-Jigsaw Puzzle-Image
Play your Part-Jigsaw Puzzle

How to Improve Personal Accountability?

If you want to quit the blame game and practice greater accountability, here are five things you can do right now:

  1. Say sorry: We all make mistakes and from time to time will hurt and offend others. When you make a mistake, take responsibility, and show ownership. If your actions or words hurt or offend someone, apologize, and make amends. Listen and learn from all conflicts or disagreements.  
  1. Acknowledge your roles and responsibilities:  Start by reflecting on your different roles, what you responsible for, who are you accountable to and what is in your scope of control. While you cannot control all the things that happen to you, understanding and owing your responsibilities will help you to accept accountability and take required actions where necessary. Do not sit back and wait for your supervisor, friend, or family member to fix your situations. Personal accountability starts and stops with you.
  1. Be honest with yourself: Sometimes the most powerful conversations we could have are the ones we have with ourselves. At some point or another, we must assess our lives and ask ourselves tough questions such as- am I changing for better or worse? am I failing or making progress? what do I need to do differently? Also ask yourself, who are you blaming for the situations that are currently happening in your life? Sit with the discomfort of your answers and then decide to take action to change. Do not normalize your dysfunction, instead call yourself out and to thine own self- be true.
  1. Manage your time and your talents:  It is easy to look at others pursing their goals and to compare yourself to them. Avoid the comparison trap for there is always going to be someone with five talents to your one. You are not expected to be them. You are only required to use your one talent to become that  best version of you. So do not flirt with failure but making excuses about why or what you cannot do. Use your time wisely, set SMART goals and find an accountability partner who will support you as you work towards them day by day.
  1. Change your questions. Asking questions is one of the main ways that we make sense of our lives and the world around us. So, what does your questions sound like? Are they solutions based or are they more likely to cause negative thoughts and feelings? As the saying goes, if you want better answers, ask better questions. To practice greater accountability, John G. Miller suggest that we ask the Question Behind Questions (QBQs). QBQs always starts with a how or what (the objective), includes I (you can only change yourself) and an action (for the way forward).Take a look at the examples below: 

Question 1: Why is all this happening to me?

 QBQ 1: What can I do to change my situation?

 Question 2: Why do I have to do everything?

 QBQ 2: How can I proactively ask my family or coworker for help?

QBQs can help you to engage in thoughts that will drive your towards accountability and positive change rather than getting stuck in negative thoughts that can leave you feeling discouraged. So, as you reflect your own personal accountability and how you show up, try practicing one of the tips and let me know if it works for you. You are responsible for creating the life you hope to have. Practice personal accountability for your actions and choices

Until next time, Remember, It’s A Learning Life!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Blind Spots: Danger -Watch Yourself !!

Blind Spot in Rearview Mirror-Image
Blind Spot in Rearview Mirror

Think about the first time you got behind the steering wheel to drive a car. You performed all the basic safety procedures to operate the vehicle safely and to keep you and other drivers safe on the road. As you drove off the vehicle, your instructor probably warned or reminded you to be careful and to check your blind spot. In driving, a blind spot is that the area around the vehicle that the driver cannot see from the driver’s seat. Every driver knows that, attempting to merge or change lanes without checking your blind spot is dangerous and can possibly lead to collision or a serious accident with another vehicle on the road.  

The problem with blind spots

Just as with cars, all of us have blind spots. Blind spots refer to unrecognized areas of weaknesses that we all have, that can potentially harm our relationships, overall effectiveness, and chances for personal and professional success. The real issue with blind spots is that – most of us are walking around and interacting every day without any awareness and knowledge of what our blind spots are. And while some of us might be unaware of our blind spots, or may not even want to admit them, these behaviors are usually very obvious to the people around us- our friends, coworkers and family who observe and experience daily. So just as in driving, where we need to frequently check our mirrors for your blind spot, we need other people to “hold up the mirror for us.”

Another problem with blind spots that makes them hard to recognize is that- a blind spot could easily be related to a personality characteristic that we consider to be a strength. For example, people like me who describe themselves as assertive, confident and outgoing, can be easily be perceived by others as arrogant and ‘pushy’. A child that loves to organize and suggest the games she plays with her friends, can be viewed as “bossy.” A person who is reserved and cautious about risk might be seen as inflexible and not open to new ideas.  This is because any strength that is overused or misused, can become a weakness. When we overuse a strength, what matters most is not what we intended, but the effects that our words or actions had on others. Perception then becomes the reality and can lead to situations where we are misunderstood, or we misunderstand others.

Cat Staring at Lion Reflection in the Mirror-Image
Cat Staring at Lion Reflection in the Mirror

The importance of self-awareness

How well do you know yourself? According to Harvard Business Review, most people believe that they are self-aware, yet only  15-20% of people are. At its simplest, self-awareness is understanding and knowing one’s own feelings, personality, behaviors, and patterns. It is also a crucial aspect of developing our emotional intelligence. When we lack self-awareness, it can work against us and lead to people to make judgements about us, that are different from how we see ourselves. This disconnect can make it incredibly frustrating and difficult for us to build and maintain positive interpersonal relationships in both our personal and professional lives.

In the early days of my own career journey, self-awareness was perhaps my biggest pain point and blind spot. For me, the issue was not that I did not know my strengths and weaknesses. If you had asked me about those, I would have been able to quickly and frankly describe the things I did well and did not. Still, I was experiencing some interpersonal problems with a few of my coworkers that prevented us from getting along well. I had concluded that they did not like me and one day vented my frustrations to a friend, who was also a colleague. She patiently listened to my concerns. After I had finished, she explained to me that- as my friend she knew and understood me and my personality. Because of that, when I behaved in a particular way, she was never offended because she understood me and what my motives were.

However, she went on to share that whenever I was knowledgeable and passionate about something, I was very direct and assertive in communicating my opinions and ideas. She further explained that- this could be interpreted by others as intimidating, arrogant and that sometimes, I did come across “a bit too strongly.” I was surprised and shocked by her feedback and had a hard time accepting it. But deep down, I also trusted her and knew it was true. Her feedback certainly explained why- despite my best efforts I was not having the impact I wanted and was not working effectively with those members of the team. The feedback left me feeling confused and frustrated. How could my strengths- self-confidence, outgoing personality and assertiveness show up as a weakness? Her feedback had revealed a blind spot and I knew then that I would need to do some things differently.

The Johari Window

So how do you improve your self-awareness? In my previous post about feedback, I wrote about how many of us struggle to accept any information we believe to be negative or critical. The less open we are to receiving feedback, the more likely it is that we will lack self-awareness and be blindsided by our blind spots. One technique that could help us develop our self-awareness and minizine our blind spots is the Johari Window. The Johari Window (diagram below) breaks down self-awareness into two categories (Things known and unknown about you to other people and things known and unknown about you to yourself) and four areas: open, blind, hidden, and unknown.

The Johari Window ModeL
The Johari Window Model

The goal of the Johari Window is for us to improve our self-awareness by increasing the open area of our window by shrinking our blind, hidden, and unknown areas.

  • Open Area: In this area, you will find the information you know about yourself and others do. This is information that we voluntarily disclose and is usually public knowledge.
  • Blind Area:  Here you will find information that you do not know about yourself, but others do. This is also the area where our blind spots live, and we rely on others to share this information with us.
  • Hidden Area: This area has information that you know about yourself and others do not. This include the things that you consider to be private or anything you believe will make you vulnerable to others.
  • Unknown Area: This area represents the things that are unknown to you and others. This is an area that is good for self-discovery and provide you with opportunities to learn a new skill or develop a new interest or hobby outside of our comfort zone.

Final Thoughts

While we get to decide how big or small the areas in our window are, the more we increase our open area, the more effective we become in our relationships at work at home.  I know you might be thinking that you do not want people to know everything about you. Afterall, putting yourself out there and being vulnerable to others can be hard and risky. But, when we open ourselves to others and share our values, goals, and experiences, we build trust, forge stronger connections, and learn more about our own feeling and emotions. So as a next step, try the following tips to help you to continue to improve your self-awareness and minimize your blind spots

  1. Start paying attention to yourself and notice your thinking, feelings, patterns and behaviors.
  2.  Build connections and relationships with people to help you better understand your strengths and weaknesses.
  3. Ask for feedback and be ready and willing to receive it and make the change(s) where necessary.
  4. Be patient and compassionate with others even when their behaviors frustrate you. You might be looking at their blind spots, but yours are just as visible to others too. So, do not forget to check you blind spots.

Until next time, Remember, It’s A Learning Life!

Watch & Subscribe to My YouTube Channel for More Personal Growth & Professional Development Videos

How- to- STAR- Your- Job -Interview-Video

Level UP!!

Balloons Up In the Sky-Photo
Balloons up in the Sky-Photo by Padli Pradana on Pexels.com

Catchy phrases and  cool slangs have always been attractive to people trying to ensure that they are “in the know” and/or keeping up the times. And so, in professional circles you might have heard your colleagues drop phrases such as “Lean In” (made popular by Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook titled book), “circle back”, “weigh in” and/or refer to “serial tasking” (Instead of multitasking) and so on and so forth.

“Level Up” or “levelling up” is the one of the newest and trendy phrases now being used in various circles across the globe to describe an attitude or mindset towards upgrading oneself or performance and/or the desire to go to another level in one’s personal or professional development or career journey. The Urban Dictionary describes level up as “To make a move in your life or career for the better”. Based on that definition,  who among us could not think of an area(s) in our lives that we want or need to level up or improve ?

Why Level Up?

According to Business Wire, there is a  $9.9 billion market for motivational self-improvement programs and products that seek to improve us physically, mentally, financially or spiritually. A quick at YouTube quick look at Amazon’s platform or YouTube respectively,  will reveal a  plethora of self-improvement books, podcasts on everything from how to improve finances, learn a new skill, motivational content on personal development and how to videos geared at people who want to try something new. So, regardless  of where you fall on Maslow’s  Hierachy of Needs , the concept of “levelling up” appeals to individuals who are  looking to  their improve skills or performance, advance in their career  or  wanting to step outside of  their comfort zone. It also provides motivation for those of us seeking to pursue bold new goals whether its buying a new home, starting that degree, taking a relationship to the next level or taking steps to improve nutrition and fitness for improved health and well-being. Additionally, the organizational environments in which we operate and the tools and technologies we use are always changing. Failure to adapt and our agility in responding to such change can affect our success and progress in the varied roles we perform.

What Does Levelling Up Look Like?

This truly will depend on your end game and what you are trying to achieve at this stage of your personal life or career. One of the things  that I learned very early in my leader development is that, development is dynamic. Our strengths can become weaknesses and gaps in skills that we have (that were not critical at one time) can suddenly become urgent. Simply put, the skills and talents that got us to one level, may not take you to your next or ‘What Got You Here Won’t Take You There’ . Plus, we all have blind spots, those things that people know about us that we don’t know about ourselves.  For example, the way we  make decisions, how we ‘show up” when working with others or perform everyday tasks,  that can potentially undermine or derail our very best efforts.

For me, I have identified a couple areas in my interpersonal and technical skills where I am seeking to grow and level up. For you, the area(s) for improvement will be different. What matters most is that you take the time to process feedback you might have received, and or spend some time reflecting on where you are vs. what you want to achieve. Once you’ve  identified  your  opportunities to growth, challenge yourself not to focus  on the barriers but instead, commit to  taking little steps as you work towards change.

So, ask yourself- what is one area (s) in my personal /professional life that I would like to or need to grow/improve? Whatever you answer might be- that is the place to start becoming the person you truly want to be.

Until next time, Remember, It’s A Learning Life!  

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Coming to America..4 Years Later

animal-1524168_1920 Four years ago (Today), I migrated to the USA to embark on a brand new chapter of my life. Excited about my visions of success, the lure of new opportunities and the well wishes of friends and family, I flew out bravely. But, like any big life event or major change, the journey has been filled with challenges and opportunities that I had to navigate to transition successfully. I quickly learnt that, even the best laid plans go awry and that research never fully prepares you for what is to come. Now, three jobs later, after many second interviews, even more informational interviews, some serious networking efforts, CPLP certification, volunteering, starting a Blog, the ground has finally settled under me and I am moving forward steadily. So, as I reflect on my own experience and progress to date, here a few insights that might help you.

  1. Plan, Plan, Plan:  If you fail to plan, prepare to fail.  Having a clear vision or set goals about what you want to and achieve will help to you stay focused regardless of what is happening around you. Share your goals often and openly, as this will help the people you meet figure out how they might best help you.
  2. Accept that setbacks and detours are normal: If you are super lucky, you might land a job in your field of choice before you even make the move.  If you didn’t, your job hunt will likely start shortly thereafter and your first job might not be what you envisioned. It might be a job that gets you employed and earning, but, it may not be a good fit for your skills and background. That just means you have to keep looking
  3. Be positive and persistent: Chances are, you are going to have some disappointments particularly with the job search process. Acknowledge them, but do not dwell on them. Your failure to get that job you wanted is not necessarily an indictment on your own value, skills and experiences. Instead, treat every interview as a learning experience, assess your performance after and use it to prepare for your next opportunity.
  4. Ask for and find help: Your success is really up to you. Start by identifying the organizations you would like to work with and try to make connections with people who are doing the kinds of work that you would like to do. Professional networks such as Linked In and/or your local professional organizations are great for establishing new relationships.
  5.  Practice a growth mindset:  Your ability and willingness to quickly learn, unlearn and relearn and will be important as you acquire the new skills required to be successful and adapt to the new culture or your environment. Be open to feedback and trying new ways of doing things.
  6. Believe in yourself and value your experiences: Though you might be in a new setting, all your experiences are valid. Your challenge is to find new ways of thinking about your skills and prior experiences and how to leverage them. Being able to determine your transferable skills, articulate and demonstrate them, will help you to reinvent yourself and position you for success.
  7. Surround yourself with good people: Like any good fighter knows, the roar of the crowd might be nice to hear but it doesn’t win the fight. When life knocks you down, all you really need are a few good supporters in your corner helping you get up to resume the fight and cheering you on.

Until next time, Remember, It’s a Learning Life!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Rated R: That Resillence Factor

If you’re going through hell, keep going!” Winston Churchill

I’ve often heard that quote and found some humor in it (As you might as well). As I wrote this post, I couldn’t think of a better reference for framing what resilience truly means. This quote from Winston Churchill, named the Greatest Briton of all time in a 2002 poll, and widely regarded as being among the most influential people in British history, provides timeless wisdom that help us understand the concept of resilience. Simply put, resilience (resiliency) refers to one’s ability to bounce back from the adversities (Illness, failures, trauma, disasters, tragedy or loss) experienced in either or personal, or professional lives. Resilience speaks to courage, determination, hope, that will to win or succeed, no matter how tough the race gets, how great the obstacles are, or how difficult the fight.  That resilience factor,  determines not only  how well we adapt and  cope with change, and the challenges life throws at us, but also whether we merely survive or thrive, and even influences how we see ourselves as victors or victims.

“Whether you think you can, or  you think cant- you’re  right.” Henry Ford

Is resiliency a skill, a trait, a talent that comes more naturally to some than other? Probably, but this might not matter in the long run. For me, resiliency is more of a personal quality, a mindset that influences the behaviors some people show in times of great difficulty. And while it may seem that, some people are more disposed or more proficient at it, this might be a result of their different life chances and experiences. We all know someone in our circle(s) of influence (client, friend, family member, and coworker) who has faced adversity. And at one extreme, there are those who seem unable to recover from the situation or event, or move forward. Their stories are filled with despair and hopelessness. On the other end of the spectrum, there are others, who despite the pain, hardships and  setbacks, push pass their circumstances and display that inner courage, determination and a will to succeed despite the odds. How then do we account for these different responses in people? Truth is, we are all wired differently, but that resilience factor can certainly determine an individual chances for success or failure and even their  performance on the job.

“Almost Every Successful Person Begins With Two Beliefs, The Future Can Be Better Than The Present And I Have The Power To Make It So.” Author Unknown

 In today’s unpredictable and rapidly changing environment where organizations exist, resilience has become a highly desired trait for both leaders and employees alike. Organizations are investing significant research, time and money into talent management and leadership development programs to build resilience in their teams and to help employees understand the importance of resiliency. In so doing, resilience is being touted as a “new skill” valued in employees, much like customer service in its heyday. After all, resilient employees make resilient companies.

7 Tips to Become More Resilient

So whether you were born or not born with resiliency as a special skill or trait, you can certainly, develop or hone it. You can deliberately choose to demonstrate resiliency in our responses to setbacks, change and adversity at work or in our personal lives. As you choose, here are a few tips that might help you develop your resiliency:

  • Practice self-awareness by understanding who you are (Strengths, gaps, and talents), and by defining what is important to you (Values).
  • Establish a vision for yourself by determining what your goals are and how you would like your life to be. Once you’ve done this, be resourceful by finding ways and opportunities (Using long and short terms plans) to leverage your skills and talents to achieve your goals.
  • Learn from your failures and mistakes and don’t get derailed by focusing on them. Truth is, you will not be the first or last to suffer setbacks and detours. Acknowledge your current situation and your role in it, and then move forward.
  • Embrace a positive mindset and perspective that will help you make sense of all your experiences and help you overcome your challenges. There is a lesson in every experience and these provide great opportunities for learning.
  • Believe in yourself and have confidence in your abilities (even when no one else does) and keep striving towards your goals even when things do not work out as you planned. There will always be people who do not support your goals, surround yourself with the ones who do.
  • Develop positive relationships at work and healthy friendships. Not only will these relationships help you to cope with stress, they will give you key support when times are difficult and also people to share and celebrate your successes.
  • Practice a balanced lifestyle that embraces your spiritual, physical, and emotional self. Remember to pray, rest when you need to and have fun on your journey.

Therefore,  the next time  you find yourself in a difficult situation– Choose to Be Resilient! For as the  great  Jamaican reggae singer and legend  Bob Marley once said, “You Never Know How Strong You Are, Until Being Strong Is The Only Choice You Have.”

Until next time-  Remember, ItsALearningLife!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Managing Emotions at Work

downloadThe tears well up in Ashley’s eyes, she tries desperately to stop them, hide them, but, they stream unchecked down her face. John pushes back his chair from the table, and storms from the meeting room. The usually bubbly and energetic Ann, dejectedly looks down, there is no light in her eyes, no welcoming smile. Seth stares ahead impassively, silent, stoic, and seemingly oblivious to his surrounding and peers and he says nothing.

Have you ever observed or experienced any of these “not so happy” emotional reactions in the workplace. Those swells of emotions; that fit of anger; the burst of tears; the blank hard stare of a colleague, team member, supervisor or direct report. Did you find it Awkward? Annoying? Inappropriate? Uncomfortable? Unprofessional? Regardless of what your views are on such emotional displays in the workplace, they are not uncommon and should not be taken lightly or brushed aside.

images (9)Like it  or not, the reality is that, the workplace is made up of people, and people have emotions that are often times expressed at work. Truth be told, not all the issues affecting employees and their performance originate on the job. Some of the factors causing emotional outbursts or provoking emotional responses in employees, might be internal to the job, external to the job or both. And though, you have often heard the saying that, “people should not take their problems to work”, people in fact do. I am by no means advocating that people take their personal issues and problems to work and vent their frustrations on other members of their teams.

However, I submit that, since the average employee spends 8-12 hours at work, it is not far-fetched or unusual for tempers to flare, emotions to run high, tears to flow, or for tension to emerge between supervisors and direct reports, among coworkers and within the ranks of leadership as well. If you have never had any of these experiences (been overwhelmed by emotions at work) or observed them, you are probably lucky. Never judge the person who has. People are all wired differently, triggered by different things and likely to respond to work pressures, stress, failures, bad news, and personal matters differently.

What are some of the factors that could cause these emotional reactions on the job?
images (4)There are many different  internal factors (related to the job or the organization) that are likely to produce  emotional responses in employees on the job. These include but are not limited to:
• Promotion/demotion.
• Voluntary/ involuntary separation (for the employee or colleague).
• Transfer from one unit/branch/location to another.
• Unfavorable performance reviews or  feedback.
• Failure on a big project.
• High stress level relating to long hours on the job, volume of work, difficult relationships on the job).

The external factors are those factors relating to the employee’s personal life (outside of the job and the organization), that might be affecting their performance, attitude or mental/emotional well-being. Some of these domestic/personal issues might include:
• A sick child/relative.
• Death of a loved one/friend.
• Personal ill-health(diagnosis of serious illness).
• Divorce, separation or any other marital problems.
• Parenting problems.
• Financial hardships resulting from the loss of income from a spouse or head of household.

Therefore, it is not unusual for employees to be affected by both internal and external factors at the same time, resulting in a decline in their emotional well-being, performance on the job and general morale.

images (5)Imagine the scenario with Ashley. Unknown to her supervisor, Ashley has experienced some difficult personal/domestic issues that have affected her performance on the job. Ashley’s supervisor has raised concerns about performance which she has also acknowledged. Ashley commits to  improving her performance, and her supervisor commits to supporting her. Over the following months, Ashley shows some signs of improvements in her performance, but not enough to allay the concerns of her supervisor. Ashley’s supervisor schedules a meeting to discuss with Ashley the need for urgent improvements. Though he is careful and fair in his approach, Ashley breaks down and starts to cry in the meeting. In this instance, Ashley’s emotional burst of tears may have nothing to do with the fairness of his/her supervisor or the accuracy of the feedback given. Ashley might have been very overwhelmed by  both the internal and external factors mentioned above and the meeting was just a trigger.

What then is an appropriate response for the manager/supervisor?

images (6)As a starting point, responsibility for managing emotions in the work place is each employee’s responsibility. It is important that all employees, (supervisors and coworkers) recognize and acknowledge that these things happen, and are likely to happen in the workplace. No one is immune for even strong people/personalities have breaking points. People just manifest their emotions differently. Employees like Ann might sink into  deep depression. John might swear and utter inappropriate words in anger or frustration, and Seth might simply “shut down”. These scenarios are highly likely, for it is particularly difficult for people to divorce themselves from their personal lives and be two different persons. The presence of any of these triggers (internal or external) in an employee’s life, might easily reach boiling point and explode  at work.

Therefore, managers/supervisors have a specific role to play,  if and when these varied emotional responses are played out on the job. Supervisors have to be especially mindful and aware that of issues/life events that might threaten to derail employees and affect their performance on the job. With this in mind, supervisors have the responsibility to take the time to get to know the members of their teams. You can’t effectively manage people you don’t know, or understand (i.e. Their personalities, aptitudes, attitudes and work ethic). In the instance that an employee display emotional reactions on the job, the supervisor should probe deeper or carefully observe the employee to assess  if there is an underlying problem. If and when they are able to pinpoint the issue/concern, the supervisor should display empathy and compassion to  the distressed/stressed employee and find ways to support.

images (7)Additionally, managers should also demonstrate sufficient emotion intelligence to be able to manage each employee differently. Some employees might not be bothered by a sharp tone, strong or firm words or pressure coming from a manager in his/her call for improved performance. But for another employee, a coaxing or gentler approach, heaping praises while pointing out gaps, might be more effective approach. Managers by their own actions and leadership styles, should foster a safe environment where employees can have the confidence to share whatever issue(s) that  might be affecting them  to get help/support. This also means that, trust and confidentiality must be hall marks of the manager’s approach.

What is the employee’s responsibility?
images (3) As mentioned earlier, the employee should also shoulder some of the responsibility for managing his /her own emotions in the workplace. Employees have a responsibility (an obligation even) to maintain some semblance of professionalism, though grappling with difficult situations/pressures internal and external to their jobs. Employees should always demonstrate respect for self, customers, peers, and be ever mindful not to breach the policies of the organization.Contending views with peers, negative feedback, stress caused by the volume of work/strict deadlines, disagreement with supervisors are all normal.

images (8)By being aware of their own emotions, their own triggers and how they are feeling, employees might be able to excuse themselves from a meeting to regain lost composure. If external factors are impacting their performance, employees must be mature, honest and willing to approach their supervisor or colleagues, and explain that, they are experiencing a challenge, and might need some support, space or time. The presence of a life event or personal issues is no excuse to shirk one’s responsibilities, “shut down” or disrespect fellow team members. Should this ever occur, the employee must be quick to apologize and strive never to repeat same.

It is also important that employees practice the  Q-TIP (Quit Taking It Personally) principle on the job. Tension among peers about the approach to a project at work, constructive criticisms, failures and “stretch assignments”, (that seem overwhelming or unreasonable at one point in time) can ultimately benefit you in the long run. They may test your capabilities, your will, and even your talents.But the successful results/outcomes  they produce might surprise you, and make you happy you were pushed, and that you persevered.

download (2)Please note as well that, the display of emotions in the work place is not bad. It just needs to be managed. It does not mean that the employee is weak, or unprofessional. We are never to judge or be judge when we demonstrate any of these emotional responses. For as we strive for personal and professional growth and development, we will never know where our respective journeys will take us, the life events that will change, shape or disrupt our lives. As such, we should always remember that people are people first, they are not their jobs, their titles nor their roles.

“What do we live for, if not to make  the world  a bit less difficult for each other?”

                                                                                                                                         Author Unknown

Images Courtesy of Google.
Copyright © 2014 All Rights Reserved