The Self-Awareness Guy
6 Tips to Help You Deal with Challenges at Work

6 Tips to Help You Deal with Challenges at Work

We all know people who keep going when things get tough at work but it’s another story to do it ourselves if it happens to us. It’s so much easier to tell someone else how to keep going but not quite as simple when you have to do it yourself. Here are some tips on what you can do when challenges arise in your work life.

This Too Shall Pass
Even the most difficult situations eventually go away and transform into something else. Change is constantly happening at work and and even terrible times eventually end.

What Can I Learn?
Everything that happens to you is a chance to learn. Think about what you would and how you might prepare differently in the future.

New Opportunities
Any challenge that comes your way is an opportunity to think in new ways and discover alternate approaches.

You Can Handle It and You Don’t Have to Control It
There really isn’t anything you can’t handle unless you convince yourself that you can’t. Remember that there are things that you simply can’t control.

Your Mental Attitude
You don’t have to forget that things are difficult but you can focus your thoughts on what you can do about the situation rather than what you can’t change.

Take Care of Yourself
Do things to comfort yourself, that bring you joy and don’t cost money. Take a walk, hug your significant other, exercise or do any other activity that helps you feel better.

Try these ideas the next time you feel that work is too much. With some practice, you’ll find that you can handle anything that comes your way in your career and workplace.


Your Perspective Affects Your Leadership

Your Perspective Affects Your Leadership

Your perspective affects almost everything you do. How is it that some leaders are happy with their work situation while others are deeply dissatisfied? The answer often lies in their perspective.

Perspective is the way you see the world through your own filters. If you filter out the beneficial bits, then you tend to focus on the things that aren’t as positive. If you filter out the negative, you are better able to see the beneficial side of things. Perspective is what allows people in very difficult situations to cope with whatever comes their way.

You are faced with important choices every day at your workplace.  At any moment you can choose to take a different path which might completely change your perspective but it requires conscious attention. Try this practical exercise sometime: The next time you feel you can’t overcome an obstacle consciously tell yourself, “I can handle this,” “This isn’t a problem,” or some other positive affirmation. This small action will help you shift from a negative to a positive perspective. You can apply this strategy to any difficult situation you encounter and it will help you refocus. Practice it over time and you will get better and better at handling any challenging scenario.

When you choose a perspective that gives you the power to move forward rather than keeping you stuck you take charge of your thoughts and actions. You gain more confidence and hope and set the example for your employees. Your perspective can affect the entire tone of the organization. How will you start shifting your perspective?


The Worst Leadership Style in the World

The Worst Leadership Style in the World

There are a lot of bad leadership styles that wreak havoc in workplaces around the world, but the worst is:

The Tyrant

This awful leadership style is practiced by people who feel powerless inside, usually because of things they endured in their own families, and then feel they have to take it out on their employees. The Tyrant marches around giving orders, demanding complete obedience, and getting really angry when things don't go his or her way. They are not open to suggestions and only really care about bossing people around no matter how miserable it makes everyone. Their only concern is the bottom line, people don't matter and human emotions are a foreign concept. Tyrants don't listen and don't care what their employees have to say, they just care about looking "strong" and in command.

The Tyrant lacks empathy and has no idea what the consequences of his actions are. Strangely enough, even though we instinctively know that tyranny is not a positive thing, most workplaces are run by people like this or some variation thereof. We've somehow convinced ourselves that the best leadership model is where some "strong" person walks around barking orders and punishing people if they don't follow them. The common variation on this theme is the person that does these things but smiles once in a while.

We can do better than this, here's how:

  • Encourage leaders to become self-aware and emotionally intelligent, to understand why they feel, think, and act the way they do.
  • Have leaders work through their own personal issues before trying to lead others.
  • Provide training that builds empathy and compassion.
  • Teach leaders how to motivate people from within.
  • Promote workplaces where people come first instead of the bottom line.
  • Teach kind leadership, which means leaders who are able to motivate their employees through kindness instead of fear and control.
  • Commit to building workplaces where people are nice to one another.

None of these things is unachievable, it's just that we've designed our workplaces to revolve around some hurt person giving orders when there are a lot of much more positive things we can do instead. Contrary to popular belief, you can get a lot done without treating people poorly. What are your suggestions for getting rid of tyrants?



How to Be Stingy with Praise

How to Be Stingy with Praise

I work with many different leaders and organizations and I get a feel for how their workplaces run by observing how they interact in the training we do together.  I regularly notice that when the topic of praise (or praising employees) comes up or when we discuss praising people on the job one or more people will raise an objection.  It usually goes something like this:

  • You have to be careful about praising too much.
  • It's counter-productive to praise all the time.
  • It's phony to praise people a lot.
  • Praise makes people soft.
  • Praise makes people achieve less.
  • How do you praise everyone when only one person deserves praise?
  • Why would I praise bad behavior?
  • I don't believe you.
  • That doesn't work.

The remarkable thing about these types of statement or questions is how much they illustrate our discomfort about praising employees.  Perhaps it comes from our families; where we had to prove our worth or rarely (if ever) heard a supportive word.  It could arise from never having worked in an organization where praise was part of the culture or leadership praised often.  These thought patterns become entrenched in us to the point where we'll argue about whether praise is positive and behave accordingly.

What I've come to realize is that people are suspicious of praise primarily because they have not yet experienced it in action.  Praise builds workplaces where employees feel valued.  It is also one of the best tools to increase the likelihood that employees will repeat a desired behavior and find other ways to contribute.  People like it when someone appreciates the work they're doing or the ideas they bring to the table.

Leaders who are stingy with praise tend to create workplaces where people are starving for recognition, feel unappreciated and where productivity, procedures and rules take precedence over people.  Praise offers a great opportunity to create a workplace that celebrates instead of castigates.  Here are some guidelines for praising people:

  • Praise positive behaviors.
  • Be genuine and generous.
  • Praise specific things that people are doing well.
  • Distribute praise evenly, find something positive each person is doing.
  • Make the praise about the other person, keep it brief and focused on them.
  • Keep praising until it becomes the new culture.

The trap many leaders get caught in is thinking that praise is stroking people for bad work when it's actually about celebrating good work.  We've been conditioned into thinking that criticism and directives are the only ways to motivate people when a simple, "I appreciate the great job you did," does much more for building morale and motivation.  What are your tips on praising in the workplace?