The Lead Yourself First Blog

How to tell people at work what you really think of them

ID-10054899Act One Scene One:  Learning a brand new way of implementing: “Don’t get mad, get even.”

During a recent training session regarding workplace relationships, I asked attendees to think of a time when a co-worker, client or manager’s words left them absolutely speechless.  Shock waves filled the room as participants willingly shared their stories. One example in particular threw everyone for a loop. As one of the attendees revealed the details of an encounter with a VP, the workshop discussion quickly heated up as people chimed in with their best comebacks. The collective “you have got to be kidding” sentiment made me think about the importance of knowing how to respond professionally to a disparaging remark in order to keep one’s credibility and composure, as well managing as the ramifications of unpleasant business interactions spiralling out of control.

What were the words that left everyone aghast? Continue reading “How to tell people at work what you really think of them”

Drama in the workplace: Are you ready and willing to end it now?

Understanding and managing drama in the workplace is a concern shared by leaders and individuals alike. Not only is it emotionally draining, the cost and consequences cannot be understated. In fact, one of the key reasons for soaring levels of workplace disengagement links directly to the existence of dysfunctional workplace relationships.

Drama occurs because we are emotional beings. We have a desire for self-expression and unfortunately, due to stress and overwhelm, we all have the capacity to display the worst version of ourselves from time to time. However, some of our colleagues and managers not only HAVE problems, they ARE problems. And many of them don’t realize the effect of their theatrics and emotional outbursts because they are operating in a state of oblivion…constantly reacting to workplace pressures, personality triggers or stressors that are occurring in their personal and professional lives, with little awareness of the impact of such behaviours on a larger scale.

The big questions that demands answers are these: Why does drama persist and why does it escalate? Here are five explanations:

1. At a very basic level, many people actual enjoy the show…either as a participant or a spectator. After all, life would be pretty dull and work would be very boring if there were no drama; nothing to gossip about? Let’s be honest, many of us willingly contribute to the juiciness of a good story by partaking in the gossip in the first place, even if we don’t spread it ourselves.

2. Drama also manifests on a regular basis because accountability isn’t taught or understood. It is often easier to blame others and share in the misery rather than accept responsibility, even if we do not know all the facts. Pointing the finger in the other direction requires very little effort.

3. Leaders don’t want to, or don’t know how to deal with it. This is one of the most common workplace demotivators. Sadly, a lack of action builds resentment amongst those who desperately want their leadership to deal with these people issues. As a result, those who once felt engaged and happy will slowly but surely find that the dysfunctional atmosphere taking a toll on their level of performance and satisfaction.

4. Organizations may invest in core technical skills or training, however the interpersonal skills that are essential when it comes to managing drama and conflict are lacking. Practicing outstanding communication skills in the face of such challenges can make the world of difference, not only to one’s peace of mind, but to the organization’s bottom line. When people feel disengaged and disconnected, when they do not feel inclined to express their concerns, absenteeism increases, turnover escalates and business declines as a result.

5. High morale is a low priority. At all levels, everyone feels the increasing pressure of managing their daily workload. As a result, paying attention to the human element slowly becomes neglected. Yet, this is precisely the issue that necessitates the greatest consideration. In addition, it is fascinating to note this is the one area that is within an organization’s control: the atmosphere within its own walls.

Based in Vancouver, Canada, Michelle Ray is a leadership expert who helps individuals and organizations succeed and take the lead. Her keynote presentation and workshop: No More Drama! How to Build High Engagement, High Morale and a Happier Workplace will be offered as a one-hour, complimentary webinar on June 27.

Are you a “desk” potato? The benefits of workplace wellness

It is one thing to be a “couch” potato…Are you a “desk” potato? Chances are that if you are both, you are heading for health problems. If your well-being is a value that you live by, then you are probably aware of the negative implications of being sedentary at your desk each work day and you make sure you get up and move whenever you can. How about your employer? The research confirms that optimum physical heath translates into better mental health. Therefore, better mental health means that both you and your employer will benefit because you are more productive. A “Living Strong” Blog report noted that by investing in wellness programs and encouraging healthier lifestyles, organizations will see improvement in employee morale, decreased absenteeism, lower health plan costs, improved productivity and increased company revenues.

In one of the only longitudinal studies undertaken on this subject, the University of Michigan proved that it pays to create a culture of wellness. They tracked the impact of a Midwest Utility Company’s implementation and investment in their wellness programs over nine years. The company realized a net savings of $4.8 million in employee health and lost work time costs. This week, CBS early morning news Health Watch segment featured New Jersey- based PHH Corporation as an example of an incentive-based wellness employer offering staff $1,000 a year to make measureable improvements to their heath. Many employees wear a pedometer and simply plug it in to their computers to track their walking success! They are rewarded for the miles clocked up just by walking around their workplace! The segment noted that for every dollar a company spends on wellness, their ROI (return on their investment) can be three to six times higher!

Adapting workplace wellness programs need not be financially prohibitive. Research the numerous pages available on line that describe best practices around the world. You can start by downloading this free PDF! Check out The Government of Alberta’s Healthy U webpage; as well as “Look Good Feel Great Always” blogs, great resources for you and your workplace to get healthy!