Tough and Toxic Workplace Relationships
You love your job and yet, your co-workers are a gossipy bunch that makes you nuts. You have a great salary and sterling bonus plan and yet, your boss is a bona fide jerk who gives you acid reflux. You just had twins and this is no time for more changes and yet, your direct reports are babies who think that coloring in the lines is high creativity.
There’s nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. So, what do you do?
Think: Relationship Paradox
It’s counter-intuitive to think that if you change others will change. The common motivational lingo for decades has been “The only one you can change is yourself”! Hey, stop and listen up! That’s just not true!
Engineers know that’s not true. Scientists know that’s not true. Anyone who understands how systems work knows that’s not true. Here is what is true:
When You Change The System Changes
That’s how to detangle the old, ingrained patterns. Then the “relationship repeat” that boring two-step dance that leads nowhere starts to become a tango. My research and work with families in difficulty shows clearly that as one person begins to change everyone in the family shifts their responses also.
My work for the past thirty years has been taking what I learned about families to help diminish workplace conflict and tension and get results through relationships. This is vital for every level of leadership to grasp.
Here are 6 keys to system change and guess what, while they all begin with you, they end with everyone else shifting and changing in a positive way too:
- Take full responsibility. That’s right don’t wait for anyone else. Admit you are a pleaser, or avoider, or procrastinator (the full list is in “Don’t Bring It to Work”).
- Give to get. Take the step to change the behavior pattern that gets in the way to its positive opposite. Pleasers become truth tellers, avoiders become initiators, and procrastinators become realizers.
- Act with an open heart. Not easy (did I ever say this would be easy???) Yet, once you start to make change others will feel the pull to do the same, give it time.
- Expect respect by showing kindness. You cannot ask for someone to change yet, you can accelerate change by example.
- Don’t let your buttons get pushed. Train your brain. You can do this by taking a big gulp of air or water or tea. If you are sitting down, stand up. If you are standing up, sit down. Just do something to interrupt your old knee-jerk response.
- Be persistent. It takes six weeks for even the simplest habit to get nailed so don’t expect a one-time change to give you a medal. Stay with it and breakthroughs will happen.