How to avoid disempowering your workplace team

It may happen that not all managers you meet in a lifetime be serious and motivating. So, what do you do as an employee if your supervisor isn’t doing their best to support you? Today we are going to have a look at 10 different ways to avoid disempowerment at work.

Avoiding Disempowerment – Tactics and Strategies

1. Don’t Over-Identify Yourself with the Job

Many people fall into this trap and tend to give their job an importance bigger than it deserves. It’s essential to remember that your life is much more complex than that and you’re not defined solely by your job. Your professional identity is merely one facet of your complex life and personality. If there is something you don’t like at work, try to change it. Whether it’s yourself or the tasks you need to fulfill, you should be able to make significant changes to be happy.

2. Grow

It may sound like a cliché, but one way to avoid disempowerment is to grow. Take advantage of all the opportunities you have and master the field you’re in. It may take some more time and effort, but it will be worth it in the end. Take advantage of the opportunities to develop in a new area, so nobody can make you feel insecure about your professional self again. Once you know a lot of things, you’ll have more confidence in yourself.

3. Don’t Be Led by Your Ego

The worst decisions you can make are those based on your ego. Don’t decide for the purpose of gaining recognition, power, and control. Often, these factors will lead you in a way that doesn’t match your true passion. For this reason, you need to make your ego work together with your intuition, thinking, and understanding. Do your decisions reflect who you are and where you want to go?

4. Quit Denial

One of the most common mistakes that leads to people’s disempowerment is denying you’re unhappy. Many people avoid discussing or thinking about their worries, frustrations, or problems. This only prolongs their negative feelings and impacts their productivity. Take your time and think about what’s not working professionally. Start planning to fix things. You don’t need to set high objectives, just take it step by step. Maybe you need to start looking for a new job or simply have a talk with your manager.

5. Get Outside Support

Sometimes, you may be too involved in a situation to see it objectively. Try getting an outside opinion, from a mentor, coach, or even a career counselor. Look at the field you want to advance into and see who made it there. Then, get their insight. There’s no need to hide the need for a fresh insight and perspective. Plus, you never know when you’ll stumble an opinion or an opportunity that can change your life.

6. Take Advantage of Your Passions and Talents

Many people get out there into the working field without knowing exactly what are their passions and talents. This can lead to a large array of situations of disempowerment. For this reason, it’s important to be aware of your skills. Find the best company that allows you to work on these areas you’re good in. See what makes you happy and what activities make you feel as if you’re not even working. It’s a good way to prevent getting into the professional crisis.

7. Take Care of Your Life Outside Work

One thing that tends to be overlooked in this corporate world is the work/life balance. However, balance doesn’t mean the same thing for everybody. For this reason, it’s important to find out what balance means for you. Is there anything you feel that it’s missing in your life? Think about it and answer this question. Try to be as clear as you can about your goals and needs.

8. Have Short- and Long-Term Goals

A life without set goals will eventually have an impact on your mental state. Write down what short- and long-term goals you have. Make sure your goals match the following requirements:

  • Measurable;
  • Behavioral;
  • Concrete;
  • Specific.

In this way, you can objectively measure your progress towards achieving them. Next, break them down into smaller steps and achieve them one at the time.

9. Know Yourself

Knowing yourself is the basis of every activity you want to start. Try not to underestimate yourself and look objectively at your achievements. You need to start believing in yourself, as well as assess your potential correctly. There is an old saying, ‘Fake it until you make it’, which you can use in this case. Even if you don’t feel confident today, dress up, look the best you can and act as if you were the person most confident in themselves.

10. Be Authentic

If you’re planning to pretend to be someone else at work, you should know it won’t work forever. Do and say what you feel it’s important to you. Besides being useful for you on the personal side, it’s also valuable when it comes to your professional direction. If you always follow your authentic needs and wishes, it will be obvious when you need to make a change.

These strategies are universal and can help anyone confronting a professional crisis. Here you can see an interesting talk that tackles empowerment by disempowerment:

It’s interesting to look at the overall impact these two states have on people and their productivity.

To draw a conclusion, if you happen to confront disempowerment in the workplace, try using the tactics above. They might seem a little too general in the beginning, but the best thing is that they try to solve the cause of the problem, not the effect. As with any other field of life, being confident in yourself and knowing exactly what your passions and skills are will help you a lot. Finally, look for a mentor to guide you and maybe to offer you an objective opinion.

If your organization is like many of the companies in the modern corporate world, there has been a lot of focus on how to get the most out of your team — the best performance, the most productivity, the biggest numbers. Some of the techniques you use, however, might only have a temporary effect — you’d get the job done in the short term, but at the expense of your team’s motivation.

If you want to learn how to avoid these critical mistakes and build a strong and empowered team, read on for nine ways you may be demotivating your team.

Constant criticism

Every management seminar and executive coaching book will remind you of the importance of frequent and timely feedback for your employees. They’re not wrong — continuous feedback is critical, but it’s important to remember that feedback is not always criticism. If you’re always jumping to “corrective action” instead of working with your team to find solutions, your nitpicking will only demoralize.

Public correction

When correction is warranted, the worst time to do it is in front of the whole team. Public embarrassment is a powerful demotivator and the only thing it will inspire is a crippling fear of failure, not a desire to improve and excel. Instead, make sure your correction is delivered away from other ears and in a forward-thinking manner. Discuss what you’d like to see in a similar situation next time rather than dwelling on the current mistake. If possible, engage the employee in deconstructing the problem or incident so that you can collaborate on future solutions. Giving them a hand in their own performance plan is much more invigorating.

Lack of attention

Collaborative action takes more your time in the short term, which leads us to another demotivator — employees wither from lack of attention. If you don’t have time to mentor your staff and share your knowledge, validate their thought processes and let them think out loud with you, then something is going awry in your management style. Studies suggest that, more than anything — and this is especially true of millennials — the people who work for you want your time, preferably in one-on-one or small group situations. It may seem like the way to help your staff is to just solve their problems or do their tasks, but the best gift really is attention. Make time to mentor your people.

Ignoring the individual

Any company or organization can be seen as a complicated machine operating in service of larger goals, but the analogy falls apart if you start to treat people as simple cogs in that engine. No one is irreplaceable in a firm, but be sure you’re giving each of your staff the individual time and attention as a person separate from the overall machine. No one wants to feel like just a number.

Shirking employee development

Part of that individual attention should be spent identifying opportunities for employee development. Helping your team grow the skills they need to move to the next level is a critical part of your job as their manager. If you’re strictly focused on maximizing the organization’s big-picture goals, you’re doing your team a disservice and delivering serious demotivation.

Doing their work

It might seem like helping to jump in and do a task for your team. Some managers “just do it” instead of delivering the feedback on what they’d prefer — it seems faster and less confrontational. The reality is, however, that this behavior is seriously demotivating. Most employees (and certainly all the good ones), actually want a chance to do their job and to do it well. Instead of jumping in, invest your time in explaining and coaching on how you want things done rather than doing it for them.

If you’re already sharing and coaching on your approach, resist the urge to cling too hard to “your way” of doing things. If you’re unwilling to hear about different ideas, you’re not making room for innovation, personal growth or potential improvement. You may have to learn to let go a little and allow room for possible mistakes in order to foster and motivate your team to achieve new levels.

Inflexibility

If you’re already sharing and coaching on your approach, resist the urge to cling too hard to “your way” of doing things. If you’re unwilling to hear about different ideas, you’re not making room for innovation, personal growth or potential improvement. You may have to learn to let go a little and allow room for possible mistakes in order to foster and motivate your team to achieve new levels.

Delving into the weeds

Most of us have worked our way up through the various levels of management in a company – at one point in our careers, it was our job to dig into the details of every issue or problem and it can feel right to return there. It might seem like you’re helping your team by jumping into the weeds with them, but the opposite is often true – it’s profoundly disempowering. Let your team manage the details, status to you and gain your input on the larger situation. Trust them to do their jobs and empower them to make the decisions at their level.

Fixating on the big picture

It can be demotivating if your manager is fixated on the top-line corporate goals, at the expense of any attention to day-to-day job. Don’t make the mistake of letting your team believe you only care about the end result; everyone needs to feel empowered to do their job and to believe their job matters. Make sure your team knows you care about them, their daily achievements and their overall goals. It’s not just about the top (or bottom) line results.

Which of these habits do you see in yourself? Examine your behaviors and decide what you can change immediately, and what you can work on over time.

Motivated and empowered employees are critical to achieving overall success, so create a plan today. You will be rewarded with an engaged team that is ready to take on even the most challenging tasks with skill and confidence.

Joel Garfinkle is an executive leadership coach who recently worked with an executive who was struggling to motivate her team. Joel walked her through the nine ways she might be demotivating her staff, and helped her design a plan to empower the team through strategic changes to her habits. Joel has written seven books, including “How to Be a Great Boss: 7 Qualities That All Great Bosses Have.” More than 10,000 people subscribe to his [email protected] newsletter. If you sign up, you’ll receive the free e-book “41 Proven Strategies to Get Promoted Now!”

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How to avoid disempowering your workplace team

Gossip is rampant in most workplaces. Sometimes, it seems as if people have nothing better to do than gossip about each other. They talk about the company, their coworkers, and their managers. They frequently take a partial truth and turn it into a whole speculative truth.

They speculate about the company’s future, whether coworkers will get fired, and what other employees are doing in their personal lives outside of work. In short, employees are capable of gossiping about anything—and they do—in a workplace that fails to manage gossiping employees.

Managers and Gossiping Employees

Many managers turn a blind eye to employee gossip (or worse, participate in it). It results in low employee morale and a toxic culture.

In one company, employees knew that the minute they shared information with their marketing manager, he would share it in his one-on-one meetings with every other coworker. The department’s morale was low, and the gossip made the employees distrust each other and not share anything with their manager—all of it the manager’s doing.

Many employees gossip about the amount of money they make—and often, they don’t tell the truth. So, unhappy coworkers beat a path to the Human Resources’ door asking about their own salary.

By law, companies cannot prohibit employees from discussing their salaries, although many companies do have such policies. Their intention is to avoid problems, but they are violating the law in so doing. Employers may not restrict employee discussions about salary.

When to Act

Expect a certain amount of gossip; people want to know what is going on in their workplace, and they like to discuss work issues. The key is to know when the gossip is out-of-hand. You need to act if the gossip is:

  • disrupting the workplace and the business of work,
  • hurting employees’ feelings,
  • damaging interpersonal relationships, or
  • injuring employee motivation and morale.

If you find yourself having to address gossip frequently, you may want to examine your workplace to understand the consistent themes in the gossip. Consider that you may not be sharing enough information with employees. It is also possible that employees don’t trust you and are afraid to ask about important topics.

When employees don’t trust their manager or feel that they lack information, they make up information to fill in the blanks. That information is often false, but people may believe it and make decisions based on that information. Or they speculate which can also damage decision making.

The results can be terrible and damaging to employees’ careers and company morale. For instance, if employees hear rumors of layoffs, they may start looking for new jobs and leave when in reality, their jobs were not under threat. Turnover can be very expensive.

If gossip has not been managed in the past, gossip tends to become a negative aspect of your work culture. So, don’t let negative gossip go unaddressed.

If employees are talking about other employees in a negative manner, it can have serious consequences. Frequently, in a toxic gossip culture, there is a small group of employees who cause problems. They often have power and bully other employees and often can bully the boss.

How to Manage Gossip

You can manage gossip exactly as you would manage any other negative behavior from an employee in your workplace. Use a coaching approach, when possible, to help the employee improve his or her behavior. Gossip is often a life-long habit and breaking it can take a great deal of effort. Managers who ignore gossip can destroy a department.

But, when needed, gossip management starts with a serious talk between the employee and the manager or supervisor. If discussion of the negative impacts of the employee’s gossip does not affect subsequent behavior, begin the process of progressive discipline with a verbal warning, then a formal written, verbal warning for the employee’s personnel file.

You absolutely should fire an employee who continues gossiping after participating in coaching. One toxic person can drive your good employees out, especially if they see that the behavior is going unaddressed.

If you assertively deal with gossip, you will create a work culture and environment that does not support gossip. You need to answer your employees’ questions directly and honestly to avoid work-related gossip.

If the gossip is personal, you must go to the employees in question and make it clear that their coworkers are not an appropriate topic.

“Who gossips to you will gossip of you.” -Turkish proverb

Common Sense Solutions That Will Help You Reduce Your Employee Turnover

How to avoid disempowering your workplace team

Are you looking for tips to help you reduce employee turnover? Competitive salary and benefits, flexible schedule options, the ability to work from home when necessary, workplace environment and employee treatment, and tuition assistance are five basics in employee retention. Especially for millennial employees, these are the holy grail for recruitment and reducing employee turnover.

But, employers can reduce employee turnover in many other ways. Hopefully, the eighteen ideas for reducing employee turnover that are presented here will trigger many more ideas when you think about your own workplace culture and environment for employees. (And, if you think these read like the Golden Rule, you’re right, they do.)

Tips for Reducing Employee Turnover

Reducing employee turnover is dependent on the total work environment you offer for employees. Employees thrive when the work environment supports them in attaining their goals and dreams. The best employees for your organization share your vision and values about what they want to experience at work.

These recommendations about reducing employee turnover are also common-sense, basic and incredibly hard to find in organizations today. Wonder why this is so? It’s because many organizations have not figured out that valuing employees is a win-win for employers and employees. Valuing employees is also a win for reducing key employee turnover.

  • Select the right people in the first place through behavior-based testing and competency screening. Sure, an onsite interview gives you a feel for whether the person can fit within your culture, but your key to selecting the best employees is to determine how well they can do the job. The right person, in the right seat, on the right bus is the starting point.
  • At the same time, don’t neglect to hire people with the innate talent, ability, and smarts to work in almost any position even if you don’t currently have the best match available.

Hire the smartest people you can find to reduce employee turnover—their versatility will make them exceptional contributors. You just need to make sure that they are not bored doing the same old thing. Think about job enrichment and promotions.

  • Offer an attractive, competitive, comprehensive benefits package with components such as life insurance, disability insurance and flexible hours. One young employee whose stated reason for accepting a job offer was the availability of a 401(k) match is not the exception. Research on Millennials and money indicates that they do not want to repeat the mistakes of their parents. Better benefits packages reduce employee turnover.
  • Provide opportunities for people to share their knowledge on-the-job via training sessions, presentations, mentoring others and team assignments. Employees like to share what they know; the act of teaching others ensures the employee’s own learning. Training others is the best indicator of learning.
  • Demonstrate respect for employees at all times. Listen to them deeply; use their ideas; never ridicule or shame them. Via your communication, share that you value them.
  • Offer performance feedback and praise good efforts and results to reduce employee turnover. Your recognition of employee contributions is your most powerful form of employee reinforcement and retention. People want to know that their work matters and makes a difference.
  • People want to enjoy their work. Make work fun. Engage and employ the special talents of each individual. A day without laughter should be abnormal for employees.
  • Enable employees to balance work and life. Allow flexible starting times, core business hours and flexible ending times. (Yes, his son’s soccer game is as important as work.)
  • Involve employees in decisions that affect their jobs and the overall direction of the company whenever possible. Involve them in the discussion about company vision, mission, values, and goals. This strategic framework will never live for them or become owned by them if they merely read it in email or hanging on the wall.
  • Recognize excellent performance, and especially, link pay to performance to reduce employee turnover. Your key employees are motivated when their above-average efforts are recognized and rewarded.

They are discouraged when they see underperforming employees rewarded equivalently.

  • Base the upside of bonus potential on the success of both the employee and the company and make it limitless within company parameters. (As an example, pay 10 percent of corporate profits to employees.)
  • Recognize and celebrate success. Mark their passage as important goals are achieved. Bring in pizza or breakfast to celebrate reaching milestones and turn the occasion into a brief ceremony while you celebrate success.
  • Staff adequately so overtime is minimized for those who don’t want it and people don’t wear themselves out. You will discover that salaried employees who are engaged and excited will work the hours necessary to get their jobs done.
  • Nurture and celebrate organization traditions. Have a costume party every Halloween. Run a food collection drive every November. Pick a monthly charity to help. Have an annual company dinner at a fancy hotel.
  • Provide opportunities within the company for cross-training and career progression. People like to know that they have room for career movement. This is a serious deterrent to employee turnover if the employee has a career path that excites them.
  • Provide the opportunity for career and personal growth through training and education, challenging assignments and more responsibility.
  • Communicate goals, roles, and responsibilities so that people know what is expected and they feel like part of the in-crowd.
  • According to research by the Gallup organization, encourage employees to have good, even best, friends, at work. This will increase their commitment to you as an employer.  
  • Now that you have the list that will reduce employee turnover, why not work to make your organization one of the few, the best, that truly honors and appreciates employees.

The Bottom Line

If you treat your employees wonderfully, you will seriously reduce employee turnover and employee complaints. You will become known as a great employer, an employer to whom the best and brightest will flock—and stay, stay, stay.

How to avoid disempowering your workplace team

People can’t collaborate if they’re jockeying for position.

People can’t collaborate if they’re jockeying for position.

“Look to your left, look to your right: One of you won’t be here next year.” This intimidating line was immortalized as a greeting for incoming students at Harvard Law School in the classic movie, The Paper Chase. The explicit (and intended) message is that hard work is needed to be successful here. The implicit (and perhaps unintended) message is that your success occurs when others fail. In a competition, others must lose if you are to win, and so it’s natural to withhold information that might help others, or to fail to provide help when help may be needed. Clearly, this message inhibits teamwork. It’s hard to collaborate if you view (consciously or not) your colleague as the competition. Self-preservation is a powerful force.

But it’s hard to deny that competition motivates. Athletes at the Olympics train incessantly to be among the very best in the world. Aspiring young professionals recognize the competitive landscape they’re in and it makes them work incredibly hard to earn top grades and ace standardized exams. They know all too well that they’re competing for limited slots in top universities and, later, limited jobs at top employers.

And so, even when leaders don’t explicitly paint a win-lose game for new recruits or new team members, the competitive mindset is essentially the default for most high-achieving professionals. It’s overlearned in school. In every industry, those hired by elite organizations have competed in endless small contests along the way to achieve these positions. This isn’t bad in and of itself, of course. But, the unintended consequence is a mindset that views success as a zero-sum game, where my success depends in part on your failure. This fosters an inward focus, a focus on self — on how I’m doing compared to others. With this focus, impression management can take precedence over learning and teaming. And it certainly doesn’t breed team spirit.

You and Your Team

Leading Teams

This is why a teaming mindset must be adopted on purpose. Team leaders must paint success in the team as something shared and expansive. Because seeing success this way is rarely spontaneous, leaders have to go out of their way to convey — to sell, really — the upside of collaborative work. The message must be that success can be greater and more exciting when people work together. When this is done well, team members tend to focus more on the work than on themselves. They also focus on what the work means for the company’s value proposition — for their customers. They feel a sense of shared fate that fosters the development of trusting, cooperative relationships. The competitive instinct we all have is then channeled into the desire to perform better than other teams, not to shine relative to our fellow team members. Or more importantly, team members may channel that competitive drive into a desire to outperform other organizations in their industry.

The team leader’s challenge is thus how to help smart, talented people who’ve gotten into coveted positions by performing well as individuals learn how to work well together — for the sake of a larger prize. The challenge is how to help them shed the hard-driving competitive mindset that may have become second nature — and replace it with an equally hard-driving collaborative mindset.

It starts with helping them reframe their colleagues as resources for achieving sought-after goals. Team leaders can emphasize the opportunity for all team members to value and learn from their colleagues, so that the team can do spectacular work. They must replace the old classic line, “one of you won’t be here next year,” with the following:

“Look to your left, look to your right: How quickly can you discover the unique talents, knowledge, and expertise that each one of you brings to the table? How quickly can you convey to others what you bring?” How quickly, in short, can we break down the barriers between us — barriers created by fear, competition, jargon, or status — and figure out how to accomplish things together that none of us could accomplish alone? These are the questions that leaders must use to help each member of a team to answer, faster, better, and more generously than ever before. Here are three tactics leaders can use to help each member of a team answer these questions:

  1. Model the behavior you’re hoping to inspire — for example, demonstrate curiosity and interest in the people you work with, ask them genuine questions, and respond thoughtfully to what you hear.
  2. Place a high value on and reward successful teaming more than individual performance.
  3. Frame the challenge ahead (the work, the initiative, the project) as something in need of diverse perspectives and skills.

With persistence and patience, team leaders can help team members abandon unhealthy competition among individuals and instead to cooperate to compete together to reach the most important goal — serving the customer.

Gallery: How To Deal With 10 Common Workplace Distractions

Some of us get pushed off balance by the slightest interruptions at work, while others easily tune out distractions. The truth is, nobody is completely attentive to their work 100% of the time–and we can all use some guidance on ways to avoid or ignore disruptions in the office.

We turned to career experts Phyllis Mufson, Andy Teach, and Meredith Haberfeld to find out what to do.

“At work just as in life, distractions are par for the course. The key point is how well you manage them,” says Haberfeld, an executive coach, and co-founder of the Institute for Coaching.

Andy Teach, author of From Graduation to Corporation, and host of the YouTube channel FromGradToCorp, agrees: “All workers have trouble with distractions in the workplace to some degree. The key is to limit those distractions as much as possible.” However, Teach believes occasional workplace distractions can actually be a good thing. “We’d all get burnt out pretty quickly if we didn’t get distracted from time to time and take our minds off of work. The danger, however, is when distractions take up too much of our time and prevent us from getting our work done.”

If those interruptions in the office are not managed, they can seriously erode your ability to focus and may lead to factual mistakes and poor judgment; which can lead to poor performance, says Phyllis Mufson, a Sarasota-based career coach.

Frequent distractions can also negatively affect your mood, Teach says. Why? They can prevent you from getting your work done on time, which creates more stress for you and consequently makes you more frustrated and unhappy at work.

Mufson adds: “Happiness largely comes from feeling that you are doing a good job at work that has meaning to you, and seeing positive results from your efforts. It takes skill and focus to produce high-quality work at the top of your game. Distractions can decrease focus, which increases stress, which can intensify any poor work habit you may have. Distractions can acerbate all of the issues that lead to poor performance, creating a negative spiral where poor performance leads to more stress which leads to more poor performance, and so on.”

Distractions range from external annoyances like loud phone talkers in open cube space to self-distractions such as Facebook, personal email, or surfing the Web, Haberfeld says. “Moreover, work-style habits can cause real distraction and are often masked as ‘unavoidable work issues,’ like spending your day checking and answering email or prioritizing your day based on whatever comes across your desk, keeping you from getting much of your other work done.”

Though the frequency and nature of distractions depends on your line of work, office setup, workplace culture, and the size of your company, among other things, there are a number of common workplace disruptions that many of us endure. Those include: unceasing e-mail (personal and work), text messages, social media and other websites not related to work, personal calls, co-worker or client interruptions, last minute requests, unscheduled meetings, audible distractions (i.e. music, television, e-mail alerts, IM’s, phones ringing, other people’s phone conversations, noisy copy machines or printers, people or vehicles going by outside your window, elevator doors or restroom doors opening and closing, etc.), gossiping co-workers, and micromanaging supervisors.

If you regularly lose focus at work because of one or more of these distractions, there are a few things you can do:

Manage your time and space.

“Reserve regular blocks of time for work that requires concentration,” Mufson says. “Try using the first hour at work to make headway in your most difficult project. Ask your co-workers for quiet time, and if that is not possible, take your work into a conference room or other quiet space,” she suggests.

Limit technology interruptions.

Spending a few minutes each day checking personal e-mail, handling an online bank transfer or texting is not a problem, but doing any of these in excess will distract you from your work, Haberfeld says. “Turn off email and text alerts and, if your role allows, only check your messages two to three times a day. Reserve your personal calls and errands for the lunch hour,” Mufson adds.

Organize your workspace to minimize visual distractions.

Have a tray for incoming work and keep only the project you are working on now in front of you, Mufson suggests. If your workspace tends to the chaotic it may be a sign that you are a visual organizer and the common organizing tips won’t work for you.

Learn self-management skills.

This will help you increase your focus and reduce stress, Mufson says. “Peoples’ work styles are different. Some of us are naturally more distractible, or more social, or more physically restless. Rather than beating yourself up for your lack of focus, experiment to learn what works for you.”

Make a plan to minimize distractions.

Haberfeld says to pick your top two distractions and give two weeks attention to keeping them high on your radar and resolving them. “Create a strategy and keep honing it as you see what works and what doesn’t.”

Make others aware of your plan.

If you are prone to self-distraction, ask a friend at work to have a designated check-in time each week to go over your progress,” Haberfeld says. Letting others know about your strategy to minimize distractions will help you stay focused.

Take action.

If your day is riddled with people walking over to meet with you at their convenience, Haberfeld says, get the friendly word out that you’re setting up designated office hours for walk-ins.

Take care of your health.

Get enough sleep! Lack of sleep makes you tired, irritable, and erodes your ability to focus, Mufson says. Drink water and stay hydrated. Being even a little dehydrated will make you feel tired and sluggish—and possibly more susceptible to distractions.

Make time to reflect.

Take time at the end of the day to reflect on your day and what you want to focus on tomorrow. Write your priorities for the next day and review your list when you come in.

Limited-Time Savings: 60% Off Leadership Books

Situation 1: Jeff and Maria are co-workers at a company that lets employees set their own hours. Jeff usually saunters into the office about 10 a.m., while Maria is there promptly at 9 a.m. She often has to take care of Jeff’s customers due to his lateness. He rationalizes that all is OK because he stays until 6 p.m. to “make up his time.” However, his clients usually stop calling at 5 p.m. Maria is angry with Jeff and becomes irritable and frustrated with him. She takes it out on him in daily interactions and sometimes even in staff meetings. Clearly, their conflict is an issue.

Situation 2: Allen and Leo are both managers. In almost every staff meeting, they bicker. They try to cut each other off, they criticize each other’s comments, and they waste time that could be devoted to essential business matters.

In both of these situations, conflict results in a waste of time, energy and productivity. Are business situations like these rare? Or is this kind of conflict exclusive to large companies?

Hardly. Conflict is all around us, and it occurs in every office to varying degrees and with almost every employee.

So what is conflict?

If you ask the average person, the responses could range from a negative situation to an extreme dislike for another person. At the same time, others could define it as anger, distrust, antagonism or simply something they dislike. These are all negative views, and I find them too narrow.

I suggest that conflict does not need to be characterized as just negative. In fact, it can be neutral or even positive. Conflict can simply be defined as tension.

Tension can be good, bad or neutral. Just because two people disagree doesn’t mean their disagreement is negative or poisonous; it can simply be a difference of opinion. However, left unaddressed and allowed to fester or grow, that neutral tension can become negative and possibly harmful. Then everyone, including the organization, suffers.

Whatever definition is used, we can agree that most people don’t like conflict. Indeed, they go out of their way to avoid it. In many cases, people view conflict in terms of arguments, anger, hurt feelings or being yelled at. And no one likes those situations. As a result, when conflict arises, most people will steer clear of it or pretend it doesn’t exist. Nonetheless, it is real, and it may become problematic.

So how should you deal with conflict in your workplace?

  1. Address It Directly. When conflict arises, you need to raise the issue with the parties involved. You want to emphasize the need for your employees to address it. At that time, you can explain that negative feelings and thoughts can be handled in an appropriate manner that can actually make them positive and productive.
  2. Listen to Both Sides. Speak with each party separately to gain their perspective on what the tension is all about. Make sure that along with any emotional information, you discuss specific facts or events that led up to or inflamed the situation.
  3. Bring Both (All) Parties Together. Allow them to share their version of the events or issue. Often, this step will elicit issues or facts that the other party was unaware of.
  4. Find Common Ground. This is very important, because often each side has some concern the other party can agree with, and this will become the foundation that enables you to bridge the gap that separates the parties involved.
  5. Encourage Compromise. For the sake of working together, each person must be willing to give in a little. This step may take a while because the sides are already firmly entrenched in their own viewpoint or version of what should happen to resolve the issue. When this is accomplished, everyone will feel a little better.
  6. Confront Negative Feelings. The feelings and thoughts that arose during the conflict stage have to be worked out. Unless this happens to everyone’s satisfaction, the problem may go away for the moment, but the hard feelings or thoughts will persist, and then a repeat conflict might occur.
  7. Be Positive. Resolve to address future conflicts in a positive manner. The model, of course, would be similar to how this one is being resolved.

Based on the experience the employees just practiced, they should now have the skills and a process in place to turn negative conflict into positive tension that propels them to deal with future problems.

How to avoid disempowering your workplace team

How to avoid disempowering your workplace team

Jamie Martin

Life and Leadership Coach

Jamie Martin Coaching

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been hearing a lot of women talking about not being enough for one reason or another. Sometimes it is a case of stepping into the unknown of the job search. Sometimes it is a case of being overwhelmed with everything on her plate.

As a result, I wanted to reach any woman who is not feeling enough, to let her know that she is ENOUGH, and to give her ways to recenter her self-worth and resources to reinforce the message.

This has lead me to writing the statements: “I am not enough,” “I am not valuable,” and “I am not worthy,” over and over again. Quite contrary to what most people want to be repeating to themselves.

This made me wonder: What steps can I take to ensure that I don’t undo the work I’ve done to realize I am enough, while reaching out to those who are struggling on the not-enough journey?

So, I decided to go back to the basics.

Step #1.

Acknowledge the piece of me that is scared that the statements apply to me, despite the work I’ve done over the years to release myself from them.

Let that part of me have a voice. Give it space to be listened to, be patient, and ask it what it needs. Sit in the stillness until I get an answer and provide it what it needs.

Sometimes this has meant letting that voice know that it’s okay to still be scared or have lingering doubts. Sometimes it has meant letting that voice scream and shout at me because it is angry. Sometimes this has meant letting the voice just speak all of its fears and doubts. Letting it all out.

Whatever the voice needs, I am willing and ready to give it what it needs.

Step #2.

Reconnect to my core.

The pieces of me that are central to who I am as a person. The elements that are unchanged by circumstance or experiences. For me, the words that allow me to connect to my core are harmony, passion, leader, generosity, and depth.

When connecting to this core, I am able to see my value and worth in a way that is stronger than anything that brings doubt to my mind. They are unshakable elements to who I am.

I find myself at a level of calm that allows me to move forward from a place of strength versus fear and doubt.

Step #3.

Practice a loving kindness meditation.

I love using the Calm App’s version of this. It allows me to practice being gentle and positively acknowledge who I am and to expand beyond self-love to also practice loving kindness to those around me who I love and who challenge me.

I come out of a meditation like this fully connected to my core and the bright energy that I embody. The part of me that has doubts is calmer and willing to take the backseat in my head.

Each of these steps has allowed me to recenter and not get trapped by the repetition in my messaging. I’ve found a clarity in these practices and a renewed sense of self.

There are many places you can use these steps yourself. Just a few include:

  • When you hear a voice in your head telling you, “You are not enough.”
  • When you find yourself repeating messages over and over again for your audience and you don’t want to ingrain them in your own head.
  • When imposter syndrome starts to set in.

Give these steps a try!

Jamie Martin is a life and leadership coach who helps women who have been going and going and going for so long that they feel like they’ve lost themselves. She helps her clients give themselves permission to put themselves first, create a plan, and go after their dreams.

Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.

How to avoid disempowering your workplace team

Jamie Martin

Life and Leadership Coach

Jamie Martin Coaching

Jamie Martin is a Life and Leadership Coach who helps women who have been going and going and going for so long that they feel like they’ve lost themselves. Working with Jamie, her clients end up giving themselves permission to put themselves first, creating a plan and going after their dreams. Her 17 year career in technology companies like DoubleClick and Google, combined with intensive coaching certification gives Jamie a unique perspective into what it takes. Continue Reading