Creating an Extraordinary Organization - Only six percent of Americans love their jobs. Stress-induced depression is on the rise and predicted to be the leading occupational disease responsible for more work days lost than any other single factor.
Stress-induced depression is on the rise and predicted to
be the leading occupational disease responsible for more work days lost than
any other single factor.
And poor communication in the workplace is a leading cause
of job dissatisfaction.
If everyone would like to work in a thriving, enlivening and
nurturing environment, why is it that almost no one loves being at work? Why is
it that most of us simply acquiesce when confronted by the drudgery and
suffering that, according to seemingly every statistical measure, characterizes
life within many companies? Why is it that given the possibility of real
fulfillment and satisfaction, we tolerate the gossip, petty jealousy, personal
undermining and adversarial communication that seem to pervade many offices,
assured of the inevitability of this condition?
Is this condition inevitable? Are we destined to an
environment where the most we have to look forward to is Friday afternoon? Not
at all. There are specific steps that can be taken to begin to reclaim some of
the enthusiasm, some of the air of celebration and some of the fundamental
respect for individual human dignity that is apparent within flourishing business
organizations or on championship teams:
1. Don't take it personally
Given the dysfunctional communication strategies
demonstrated by most adults, repressed anger and upset are frequently brewing
just beneath the surface within many individuals. Their angry and offensive
outbursts have little or nothing to do with any occurrence in the present
moment. Some unresolved upset from the past has simply been triggered and
bursts forth in an inappropriate manner.
Under such circumstances does it make sense to take
another’s outburst personally? Logically, the answer is no. Taking someone
else's anger personally is insane because it simply never is a personal
phenomenon. This is not to say, however, that it is easy to remain calm in the
face of another persons' anger, recognizing that it is not personal. It is
never easy, but armed with this insight you can begin to develop an ability to
stand firmly in the face of another's upset without taking it as a personal
2. Listen with compassion
Life is a difficult and challenging enterprise for everyone,
and this fundamental truth goes largely unrecognized. Given this knowledge,
rather than reacting to someone's anger or upset, it is possible for you to
deeply appreciate his or her feelings and experience. Rather than reacting to
someone's anger or upset, it is useful and necessary for you to demonstrate
empathy. Remember, there but for the grace of God go I.
3. Just hear the communication
In order to lessen tension within the workplace, it is necessary
to provide a safe environment for open, honest communication. Get people to
talk about what is going on with them, to describe their present experience,
and then just listen. Don't respond. Don't offer advice. Don't try to console.
Just listen with compassion and understanding. In the vast number of cases,
quiet and attentive listening will allow the upset to disappear.
4. Give up the need to be right
For most human beings, the necessity to be right, the
unconscious desire to win is all important. This drive is expressed with
employees, coworkers and even with family. Individuals are reduced to objects,
and friends and family are sacrificed simply to preserve an egocentric point of
view. We would rather be right, would rather win the argument than coexist
happily, but being right and being happy are mutually exclusive.
5. Look for the best in people
Attention on oneself caused by one's own sense of
insufficiency drives people into competition with one another and creates a
bias toward critical, negative analysis of another in order to enhance one's
own social standing and appearance. We literally look for the worst in others
in an attempt to conceal or dilute our own self-perceived shortcomings by
In order to counter this seemingly natural tendency, learn
to look for and expect the best in all coworkers and become everyone else's
greatest fan. What is it about each individual that makes him or her a valuable
contribution to the company? Who are these people really, and what are their
best attributes and strengths?
6. Acknowledge people
Everyone craves positive attention, for most individuals
live with a sense of insufficiency and of their own shortcomings. Look for
opportunities to acknowledge coworkers. What positive impact are they making on
the company? Acknowledge people for doing a good job, for making a deadline,
for keeping their promises. Acknowledge them for their appearance, for the way
they manage their workload, or for the way they treat others. Always remember
to keep it authentic and sincere, and look for and find numerous opportunities
to thank people for the many large and small contributions that they make to
7. Forgive others
Given the unconscious desire to win at all costs and the
necessity to be right, we tend to hold on to every injustice, every wrong,
every resentment and every regret. What often goes unnoticed is that
un-forgiven resentments must always be suppressed, managed or controlled. They
arise again and again whenever the person who is the object of the resentment
comes into the room or is mentioned in conversation. What makes matters worse
is that the suppressed anger also arises whenever any similar instance
resembles a past transgression. Resentments divert attention, breed gossip and provoke
For your own sanity, it is critically important to forgive
others. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. Forgiveness does not deny the
inappropriate nature of another's acts; it does not condone or tolerate future
abuse, but in forgiveness, in giving up the resentment and the right to punish,
you are left with serenity, freedom and peace of mind.
8. Communicate upsets
Human beings live in the illusion that unexpressed anger,
upset and disappointment will simply disappear over time. Nothing could be
further from the truth. Like resentments, unexpressed upsets inevitably arise
again and again. They divert your attention and sap energy. Moreover,
unfulfilled expectations, thwarted intentions and undelivered communications -
the stuff of which upsets are made - provide the evidence by which other
individuals are tried and sentenced. Only communication can provide salvation
for continued viable and productive relationships.
Scott Hunter is a professional speaker, workshop leader,
consultant and business coach. His work involves transforming the thinking
of management to a paradigm of faith, trust, possibility and abundance to
increase productivity, creativity, teamwork and profitability. He is the author
of the ground-breaking book,
Unshackled Leadership. He can be reached at email@example.com or visit
his web site at www.unshackledleadership.com.
Scott Hunter works with CEO’s and senior
management teams to create breakthrough outcomes and extraordinary performance
by transforming the paradigm within which companies operate. He has created a
15-step program – called Unshackled Leadership - that causes people at the top
to shift their perspective on the role of the leader and to redefine the
culture of the organization so that everyone on the team is operating from a
common understanding and a defined platform built on faith, trust, possibility
and abundance. He is the author of the ground-breaking book,
Leadership. He can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his web site at www.unshackledleadership.com.
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