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Once & For All: Stopping Sexual Harassment at Work

Posts Tagged ‘workplace relationships’

Unsnap Your Judgments

Monday, June 20th, 2011

Guest Post
by Peggy Klaus

“Never judge a book by its cover.” Although an often quoted sentiment and a noble goal, most of us ignore this sensible advice. In reality, we humans tend to be judgmental creatures who constantly evaluate each other on the basis of seemingly superficial details such as facial expressions, manners, vocal quality, clothing, and more. But here’s some good news about this tendency to judge: it’s not your fault! (more…)

People or Objects?

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

How you perceive your employees impacts their willingness to help you succeed as a leader

There is an easier way and a harder way to get results as a leader. The easy way is where you have a team of people around you who want to help you achieve results, even in difficult circumstances. The hard way is to push and demand results from your team. Because they don’t want to see you succeed, they find a way of only doing the bare minimum to get you off their back.

So what makes employees want to help their boss succeed? Part of the answer lies in whether the boss treats them like people or like objects. (more…)

Calming Yourself Down – The Key to Not Making Matters Worse

Monday, September 20th, 2010

On the surface, organizations are about making money, delivering goods and services, and producing results. Scratch the surface of any organization, though, and you uncover a hotbed of emotions: people feeling anxious about performance, angry with co-workers, and misunderstood by management. Leaders are burnt out and workers are buried in resentment. Because many organizations call for unemotional behavior, individual feelings are often suppressed. Workers think their only options are to suck it up or quit.

People want to be productive and happy at work, but instead feel emotionally trapped. We have all had experiences with co-workers who drive us crazy. We get drawn into their personal problems, bad work habits, and irritating behaviors.

These situations drain our souls and harm our organizations, because the strength of an organization is in its employees. When there are problems in the workplace, it will affect the bottom line sooner or later.

What are some of the outcomes or consequences of unhealthy relationships at work?

• Employees don’t enjoy going to work

• People feel overwhelmed or disrespected on the job

• Tardiness, absenteeism, sick leave

• Reduced productivity or work quality

• Mental replay of conversations or interactions; inability to “get over it”

• Fatigue, illness, exhaustion

• Headaches, tension, stress

While handling workplace conflict is a multifaceted process, the first step you should take when you become frustrated – BEFORE you address the other person – is to calm down physically.

It’s a fact that when you are angry or upset, physical activity can often help you calm down and see the situation more objectively. It doesn’t have to be a 30-minute run – any type of physical movement can help you relax and think. Taking a physical break can often defuse your frustration and put you in a better position to think about the situation.

As an example, think about a time when you attended a meeting and something was said that upset you. What was your response? Did you become angry and then “check out” mentally? That’s a coping mechanism, but not one that offers you control. Deep breathing to calm yourself and release a little anger can help you check back into the meeting and respond objectively. Some other ideas for helping you physically calm down before dealing with a workplace conflict:

• Deep breathing

• Walk the hallway

• Step outside and enjoy the weather

• Splash cold water on your face

• Count to ten

Once you have gained control of your body and mind, you can more clearly think about the conflict situation and how to address your concerns with the other person.

Excerpted from the Leader’s Guide to the video program Working With You is Killing Me.

Training Resource: Working With You is Killing Me offers practical advice on how to “unhook” from emotional traps at work and save yourself from needless stress.

How Interpersonal Conflict Hurts Organizations

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

Interpersonal conflicts can wreak havoc on an organization. Whether it’s a silent war between departments, a hostile relationship between two co-workers, or a damaging relationship with a vendor, when two or more people are caught in an interpersonal tug-of-war, the organization pays
the price.

In fact, it is estimated that 20-50% of work time is routinely wasted on bickering, backstabbing, vying for approval and other forms of emotional inefficiency. 

Instead of focusing on the work at hand, employees spend time recovering from interactions with a bullying boss, or griping with their colleagues about an irritating co-worker. Sometimes, the most capable employee becomes the least productive worker because he or she is burnt out from months of compensating for less motivated members of the work team.

Emotional inefficiency can develop from something as simple as a constant noise distraction whereby one loud, talkative person eats up hours of other people’s concentration. It can also occur between departments–one team becomes resentful of another team’s inability to meet deadlines. Instead of resolving the problem, a cold war ensues. Both sides quietly sabotage the other.

One approach to solving this problem is to offer individuals concrete skills for managing their workplace relationships.

Ø      If your workplace consists of cubicles and open workspaces where there is little privacy and plenty of pressure, you can hold workshops in setting boundaries and teach co-workers how to respect each other’s space so that optimal productivity takes place.

Ø      If employees have trouble understanding what is expected of them from their bosses, they can be taught the skill of Managing Up – taking concrete steps to meet with, report to, and get direction from the people who supervise them.

Ø      If you have four generations of employees with distinctly different experience levels and values, you can prevent cross-generational rifts by building awareness and tolerance through diversity training and instructing people in the soft skills of team building and communication.

The ability to resolve personal conflicts ultimately rests with the individual. Yet, companies are in a unique position to assist their employees in this area. Learning soft skills is the toughest part of any job. To improve the bottom line and guarantee a happier workforce, organizations must consider investing in the people side of making work work.




Katherine Crowley and Kathi Elster are co-authors of the nationally best-selling book, Working With You is Killing Me: Freeing Yourself from Emotional Traps at Work. For over twenty years, they have helped people within corporations, government agencies and universities manage workplace relationships. To see the CRM Learning training video based on their book go to: www.media-partners.com/conflict_resolution/working_with_you_is_killing_me.htm




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