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Five Strategies to Help You Enjoy Going to Work Again

Are you walking on eggshells around your employer? When it comes to dealing with a hard-to-please and perfectionistic manager, many employees find themselves riddled with anxiety. While others in the company might praise the boss for promoting high standards and a strong work ethic, the employees of this type of perfectionistic supervisor can feel oppressed, intimidated, and discouraged. Perfectionistic bosses often have extreme expectations of others (or themselves), think in a highly rigid manner, seem fixated on processes and efficiency, come across as self-righteous, and overemphasize rules (e.g., be at work at 7 a.m.) instead of principles (e.g., be a punctual person). Not surprisingly, these managers can create an exceptionally stressful work environment, resulting in employees feeling like they’re never doing enough, their goals are insufficient, and their standards are subpar. This tends to be demoralizing for the entire team. As a result, employees stuck in this workplace culture often feel helpless, and after contending with continued frustrations, they can eventually experience profound hopelessness. When a boss’s perfectionistic tendencies are projected onto others in the workplace, it can lead to many feeling like they have to tiptoe around the office. This is because employees are terrified of completing "imperfect" work, which can set off a prickly boss. Fortunately, there are ways to make this work situation more manageable. Although there are no magic techniques that will guarantee success, the following strategies can help you breathe more easily around a perfectionistic boss: 1. Pick Your Battles Do not fight the war on every front. Be judicious about which of your boss’s behaviors and interactions you address. Accept that you cannot fix all of them, as employers often don’t respond well to pushback at every turn. For this reason, it’s vital to find the balance between addressing their perfectionism and preserving your relationship with them. 2. Use Assertiveness to Communicate An assertive communication style generally protects the relationship, preserves self-respect, and conveys your needs. When taking this approach, choose language that focuses on your experience rather than your boss's shortcomings. You can do this by selecting "I" rather than “You” statements. For example, instead of saying, "Your timeline is unreasonable and unfair,” try, "I'm worried about getting this project done on time, as the timeline seems very ambitious." Communication also includes nonverbal behavior. You can’t say the assertive statement while rolling your eyes and snickering because it will invalidate the proactive nature of the content. 3. Be Private Do not call out a perfectionistic boss in public, in front of the team, or in front of the boss’s supervisors or other key stakeholders. This is a recipe for defensiveness and shattered trust in the workplace. Instead, provide feedback to them in private. 4. Leverage Strength in Numbers Sometimes, it is more effective when a cohort of individuals gently brings feedback to a perfectionistic supervisor. It’s easy for a perfectionistic boss to dismiss one person’s concerns, but it’s a little more challenging when it’s coming from a group of people. This only works, however, if the communication strategy isn’t hostile (see #2 above) and isn’t public (see #3 above). 5. Set Reasonable Boundaries Combine these tips with your assertiveness to establish reasonable boundaries with your boss. Boundaries work best when they are based on your values. Do you place high regard on work-life balance, family, financial security, learning, and curiosity? Use these values to guide what boundaries you need to set with your employer. However, be mindful that your values may not always align with those of your boss or organization and that you may need to negotiate these with them. While these tips will help you address a manager’s perfectionistic behavior in most situations, not all bosses will respond well to feedback or attempts at addressing their perfectionism. Therefore, it’s imperative that you assess your particular situation and determine whether these tips make sense for your workplace. Perfectionistic bosses can be tricky to navigate, but you now have tools to reduce your workplace anxiety and create a more harmonious workplace culture. Dr. Greg Chasson is a licensed clinical psychologist and board-certified cognitive-behavioral therapist. He is also an Associate Professor, the Director of Behavioral Interventions of the Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders Clinic in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Chicago, a keynote speaker, and the author of FLAWED: Why Perfectionism is a Challenge for Management.
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Embracing Conflict Management for a Happier Workplace

To create a harmonious environment in your organization, you have to reduce the number of conflicts among team members. You can do this by speaking to and understanding each employee's concerns. Not fully knowing or understanding why a conflict happened can result in additional issues later. Before your workplace develops into a breeding ground for frequent arguments and clashes between employees, you should begin implementing conflict management. Authorities within your company should establish a system for dealing with and handling employees who cannot work together. Here is how your organization can begin the process of embracing conflict management. Find The Source of the Conflict Before approaching team members, it is a good idea first to figure out why the conflict occurred. Supervisors should investigate the workplace circumstances, any involved team members, and review any evidence leading up to the conflict. This can help reveal how relationships began to degrade and prevent team members from placing the blame on one another. Create a Safe Space to Talk Conflicts can’t be resolved by shaming individuals. Instead of taking sides or placing the blame on specific team members, you should create a safe space to speak to them in private. You can speak to each involved employee in private and as a group to help assess the situation. In private, team members can be honest about how they feel without feeling coerced to act a certain way. Listen to Everyone Every employee plays a part in an organization’s success, which means that leaders within the company should actively listen to each person. This can also help reduce conflict because everyone’s voice is heard. Hearing each employee’s concerns and finding a solution for them will be one of the initial steps to a resolution. Figure Out Where Things Went Wrong After an authority figure checks each employee’s complaint, they can then address the problem. From inflammatory emails to angry verbal exchanges, the supervisors must review all the activities that occurred during the conflict. Getting information from witnesses and reviewing any evidence will help company leaders pinpoint how the conflict began. An employee’s anger may have stemmed from one team member being poorly trained. They may feel they are more skilled and competent, making them impatient toward a less skilled worker. If this is an issue, the poorly performing team member can be trained to create better outcomes. Create a Common Goal Conflict management needs to get all employees to work together as a coherent team. This means that a common goal must be established so that everyone understands why they are working together. Reminding team members of that common goal will be important to helping them establish stronger working relationships. Employees who don’t understand where they fit in, lose sight of their purpose, misunderstand what they are supposed to do, or aren’t well-trained enough to deliver the correct results can make team members fall off track. Getting all team members to fit into the workplace culture will help make them more coordinated and motivated. Find a Solution Once senior members of the organization understand the source of the conflict, how the falling apart between team members began, and who was involved, they can develop a solution and implement it. The solution should be well-rounded and not only address one but multiple problems. Additionally, it should seek out the root core of the issue and resolve it. Follow Up Evaluation Even after a workplace conflict has been solved, it is important to maintain and develop workplace relationships. Employees should be evaluated over time and invited to a discussion to review how they have changed since the conflict resolution. Productivity should be reviewed, and employees can give feedback on how leadership is doing. This can build a healthy culture that reduces overall conflict within your organization. How Do Conflict Management Specialists Get Rid of Issues in My Company? You can learn more about how conflict management works and whether it is the right step for your organization. Speak to an experienced team to help benefit your organization and increase performance.
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5 Ways to Build Your Hope Skills at Work

The world getting you down? Need a boost of hope? Best-selling author Admiral William McRaven may have the answer: Make your bed. Simple? Yes. Too simple? No. Let me explain. The definition of hope is often misinterpreted as wishful thinking. “I hope I get rich.” “I hope I get promoted.” “I hope I get married.” But hope, according to world-renowned psychologist C.R. Snyder, Ph.D., is believing that we can create a pathway to our goals. When we wish for something, it is left up to luck or happenstance. When we hope, we set goals and achieve them. We don’t wish to get rich, we set a path to finding a career that makes us happy and successful. We don’t wish to get promoted, we communicate our goals with our boss and agree to a way to achieve them. We don’t wish to get married, we put ourselves out there and foster enduring relationships. Simply explained, we make our own luck. So, back to the bed theory. How can making your bed every day be tied to increasing hope? When you accomplish small tasks at the start of your day, you increase self-effi­cacy, a key trait to building up hope. If you believe you have the capacity and the tools to accomplish a small task, you trick your brain into believing it can achieve bigger, more challenging tasks. Making your bed may seem inconsequential in the moment, but when you add up these small wins over the course of the day, the week, the year, it has a significant impact on how con­ dent you feel about yourself and your ability to follow through on commitments. Building hope habits at work is hugely valuable in a place where procrastination and distraction are major barriers to engagement and productivity. So, what happens when hope is at risk in the workplace? According to David Whiteside, Ph.D., director of organizational insights for Plasticity Labs, when the highest performing employees lose hope that the organization is going to improve, it can lead to burnout. “In strong cultures, engaged employees practice citizenship behaviors. The goal of these targeted actions is to improve the organization they love, for example, they work on weekends on special projects that inspire them,” he says. “In weak cultures, engaged employees are blindly hoping that if they put in extra effort, it may turn things around, for example, they work on weekends to make up for the low performance of their colleagues.” David believes hope is tied to happiness and well-being in the workplace. “Basically, without hope that their efforts will make a difference, engaged employees in a weak culture can experience a signi­ficant decline in their well-being over time,” he says. There is a way to solve this, and it’s easier than you think. You can start by setting smaller, realistic goals that are achievable daily and tied to a bigger purpose that isn’t measured quarterly or annually. Hope is a skill that is built over time, incrementally, and is more likely to yield positive results if it’s celebrated regularly. I believe we need to get better at building hope into every day. Five Tips to Build Your Hope Skills Aside from making your bed every day as the admiral suggests, here are a few other tactics to increase hope at work and at home to lead a happier, healthier and higher-performing life. Set a WOW goal. What have you been putting off? Force yourself to tackle a project that can be completed Within One Week. Our brains love checking tasks off lists, particularly if our procrastination has stopped us from tackling that project for longer than we’d like to admit. Make this week the week you complete one of those goals. It may be cleaning out y our closet, or sending in your expenses—whatever it is, get it done before Sunday comes. Make every success matter. You’re presenting to the leadership team? Don’t view success as a fully prepared presentation. Instead, be proud when you come up with the first rough draft. Even a title slide is a great start. Every step toward your end goal should count. Say thank you. Hope is contagious. Start spreading it. Know someone who has been dealing with a challenging life event or someone who just needs a lift? Write a note of appreciation on a Post-it and stick it on that person’s desk. Don’t take credit, just let hope take root and see what happens. Take a break. As David noted, when we go above and beyond and aren’t feeling acknowledged for that work, we may be at risk of burnout. For high-performing people, it can be hard to let something go at work or at home, but sometimes we have to. Take a day off and recharge—a mental health day is just as important as a vacation day. Get perspective. We all lose sight of the significance of our problems. That is completely OK. We should never feel guilty for any feeling we experience. However, sometimes it’s being selfless that is the most selfish act we can engage in. Researchers claim that giving back is highly correlated to happiness and longevity. It gives us hope by reminding us that our singular efforts can impact a person, and hopefully with a ripple effect, can change the world. If all else fails, heed Admiral William McRaven’s advice, “If by chance you have a miserable day, you’ll come home to a bed that is made. That you made. And a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.” This article originally appeared in the October 2018 edition of Live Happy magazine. Jennifer Moss is the co-founder of Plasticity Labs and best-selling author of Unlocking Happiness at Work. She’s a happiness researcher and thought leader on the topics of emotional intelligence and organizational performance as well as a contributor to Harvard Business Review, Forbes, BBC, National Post and Huffington Post.
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6 Apps to Help You Overcome Digital Distractions at Work

Technology has been called the greatest disruptor of happiness in human history. For all of our technological connectivity in the modern era, we have never felt so overwhelmed and fragmented as a society. We’re stressed out by the size of our inboxes, by our social media feeds, by the tangle of wires on our nightstands. Technology is flooding into every crevice of our lives faster than we can currently assimilate and evaluate what it means for us. Distractions are not just an annoyance, they also have a powerful impact on focus, flow and productivity at work. According to Cyrus Foroughi, a doctoral student at George Mason University, one minute of distraction is more than enough to wipe your short-term memory. An interruption as short as 2.8 seconds (the length of time it takes to read a short text message) can double error rates on simple sequencing tasks and a 4.4 second interruption can triple error rates. Even worse, when we get distracted, it takes an average of 11 minutes to return to the task that you were doing before. No wonder it feels like we are constantly saying, “Now what was I doing…?” Linda Stone, a software executive who has worked for both Apple and Microsoft, explains that we are so busy keeping tabs on everything that we never focus on anything, a phenomenon she calls “continuous partial attention.” Today the average smartphone user checks his phone 150 times a day. Which means that every time you swipe open your phone, you’re giving away approximately one minute of your life. Multiply that by 150 swipes, and you are looking at 2.5 hours of your day…every day. Or the equivalent of 38 days a year. A recent study found that the mere presence of a phone in your line of sight can decrease your focus, flow and connectedness to others—even if you never touch it or even look at it. Why? Because your brain is anticipating you might get a message and you might be needed, a feeling that is particularly addictive. So, what can be done about digital distraction? While completely unplugging is one solution, I believe we need to learn to live with technology rather than just escape from it. Technology itself is just a tool—what we do with it makes all the difference. To drive home this point, I’ll show you how to fight fire with fire—using technology to help control technology. Here are six of my favorite apps to help you regain control of your digital life and refocus your attention with intention. The Realizd app tracks how often you unlock your phone, how long you go between unlocks and what you are doing on your phone. Knowing your stats increases your awareness so that you can make proactive choices about how you spend your time and energy. The QualityTime (for Android) or Freedom (paid app for iPhone/Android) apps enable you to turn off specific apps (Candy Crush anyone?) or even to lock you out of your phone for periods of deeper focus. Calendly helps you schedule meetings without the back-and-forth emails. Gmail Unsubscribe is an open-source Google Script to help you easily unsubscribe your email address from unwanted newsletters and other bulk emails in Gmail and Google Inbox. MindFi offers “eye-opening meditation for busy humans.” Users are encouraged to re-center themselves through three-minute guided meditations designed to be used during a break, a meal or even during a commute. Todoist is a to-do list and task manager to help you remember details and prioritize tasks in your life. Finding the right apps can be a tremendous support for managing information flow in your life.  However, even helpful technology can be distracting. To avoid getting overwhelmed, choose one app and stick with it for at least a week to see if it is a good fit for your life. The best apps will seamlessly support you in achieving your goals of greater productivity, focus and flow. This article originally appeared in the October 2018 edition of Live Happy magazine.
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Happiness Clocks In

In Denmark, happiness in the workplace is so valued that they even have a name for it: arbejdsglæde. Roughly translating into “work joy” or “work happiness,” it’s a word that seems foreign to U.S. workers in more ways than one. During the course of our lives, we spend roughly 90,000 hours working, so it makes sense that we’d want to enjoy that part of our lives. While previous generations may have focused their attention on paying the bills and working hard to build a good life for their families, today’s workers expect a greater work and life balance. In fact, Gallup’s 2017 State of the American Workplace report found that 53 percent of workers say that having a position with greater work/life balance and increased personal well-being is “very important.” And they increasingly expect employers to play a role in that. The 2017 Staples Annual Workplace Study discovered that 80 percent of workers believe employers have a responsibility to keep employees both mentally and physically well. Given the connection between happiness, good health and productivity, bosses would do well to listen. “People who are happy at work have better health, are happier in life and enjoy greater career success and lifetime incomes,” says Alexander Kjerulf, CEO of the Danish company Woohoo inc. It’s good for the company, too. Economists from the University of Warwick found that happier people are 12 to 20 percent more productive and use their time more effectively. “Companies like Google have invested more in employee support and employee satisfaction has risen as a result,” says Andrew Oswald, professor of economics and behavioral science at the University of Warwick and one of the authors of the study. “For Google, [productivity] rose 37 percent. Making workers happy really pays off.” Rules of Engagement But what, exactly, makes for a happy workplace? It’s more than Google’s free food and arcade games that make employees want to work harder and do better; it’s most likely the autonomy, the ability to learn on the job and the variety of challenges that contribute to happiness and greater productivity. All of those elements were found to be major contributing factors to work satisfaction in the Gallup report. “Autonomy is a key human motivator, and that includes autonomy at work,” says Scott Crabtree, chief happiness officer and founder of Happy Brain Science, a consulting company that helps organizations boost productivity and happiness. “Nobody enjoys being micromanaged, so why do it to others?” Employees who fare best are those who are given clear goals or expectations, limited feedback (and only when necessary) and the freedom to move forward on their own. That kind of approach leads to an engaged workforce—and engaged workers are happy ones. Making a Play for Workplace Happiness Engaging workers is easier said than done. While it’s not a new problem for workers or for employers, it is becoming more important. One of the new drivers of employee engagement is gamification, which applies game mechanics to nongame settings—such as the workplace. This allows employers to develop rewards, encourage employees and improve performance in a more accessible, enjoyable way. As he studied more about happiness in the workplace, Scott—who has a background in video game design—was surprised to learn that what makes people happy and engaged in video games are the same elements that engage us at work. “What makes games so compelling, according to science, is that you find core human intrinsic motivators in them; these are psychological needs that we all have,” he says. “Specifically, those needs are autonomy, relatedness and mastery, and the best video games satisfy our needs for that. “It’s exciting to know that the things that engage us in playing games are the same things that engage us in making work more rewarding and engaging.” Playing With a Full Deck Scott merged the research on workplace happiness with positive psychology principles into a game called Choose Happiness @ Work. Using two decks of cards, players work through a set of problems based on real-world work scenarios. One player draws a problem, and the other players recommend one of the solutions they’ve drawn from the other deck. “It gets everyone talking about how these different solutions will work. Every solution has real science behind it,” Scott says. Those solutions apply principles of positive psychology to resolve the scenario. “I use this a lot in workshops and presentations, and there’s a lot of laughter,” he says. “There’s not enough laughter in the workplace. So even though it’s a ‘serious’ game, it’s a lot of fun.” Even in its levity, however, the game is providing ideas and guidelines for solving workplace problems, improving communication and creating greater engagement. The solutions presented are designed to make players think differently and respond to situations using a positive, engaged approach. “When you talk to people about gamification at work, most people immediately go to the surface stuff: We’ll give people points and badges and prizes. All of that is great and it works, but it works better if you understand why it’s working and what it’s all about,” Scott says. “In work and in games, it’s all about progress and mastery.” While workplaces may have been reluctant to introduce initiatives for employee happiness in the past, today that mindset is changing. “I understand that we’re at work to get things done, but fun is not the opposite of productivity. Science shows us it can be a great complement to productivity,” Scott says. “If you take 5 percent of your time to boost happiness at work, and you get a 20 percent productivity boost out of that investment, then I would say that’s a fantastic return on investment.” This article originally appeared in the October 2018 Edition of Live Happy magazine.
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What If It Were Easy?

When it comes to work, you might be considering finding a new job that really energizes you and creates more meaning in your life. Maybe you’re thinking it’s time to be compensated for what you are worth and ask your boss for a raise. Or maybe you’re contemplating going back to school to advance or switch careers. Regardless of what you’re seeking, if you are like many of the clients we coach, you are probably thinking, “This is going to be really hard.” Yet one of our favorite questions to ask our clients is, “What if it were easy?” “But it’s not easy,” one client, Rosa, said in an exasperated tone. “I know it’s not,” Margaret replied to Rosa’s idea of returning to school at age 35 to become a licensed therapist. “I went back to school at age 46. I know how hard it is, but what if it were easy? Let’s play with that idea a little. Where would you start?” These simple ideas—what if it were easy and let’s play a little—got Rosa to shift her perspective and begin breaking down the steps she needed to take. “OK, so I can’t quit my day job right now, but I could explore schools in my area and find out what kind of prerequisites I would need to apply.” “That’s a great start. What else could you do?” Margaret asked. For the next 30 minutes Rosa sketched out a plan and committed to making three small steps, including reaching out to a friend whose sister is a therapist. “I’ll ask if she would introduce us,” Rosa said.“I know I could learn a lot from her experience.” Stealing a line from actors Constantin Stanislavski originated the method by which actors emotionally embody their roles. One of his greatest contributions to acting is the magic “if.” Actors are encouraged to ask, “What if I were an 80-year-old grandmother?” or “What if my leg had been harmed in the war; how would I walk now?” And what if, just by asking yourself the question, you are more likely to take an action? Jonathan Levav of the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Gavan Fitzsimons of the Duke Fuqua School of Business uncovered a question-behavior link. Jonathan and Gavan found that merely asking people if they are going to do something, such as buying a car, made people more likely to buy cars compared with people who weren't asked such a question. So we, too, encourage you to ask yourself, “What if it were easy?” to see where it leads. Ask Yourself To shift to a “this is easy” mindset, here are a few other prompts to play with: 1. What if you had access to all of the resources you might need, what would you attempt right now? 2. What would your future self—you 20 years from now—advise you to do? 3. What would you do if you knew you couldn’t possibly fail?
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What is Your Leadership Philosophy?

You’ve heard of the Merchant of Venice, but you probably haven’t heard of the Mayor of Ventotene. Let me explain. Last month I boarded a ferry in Formia on the west coast of Italy that would take us to the tiny island of Ventotene.Our Italian friends (I’ll save that story for another blog post) introduced me to another passenger, Gerardo Santomauro, the “First Citizen of Ventotene.” In the United States we would call him the mayor. After exchanging pleasantries (his English was way better than my Italian), I explained my yearlong “work from anywhere in the world” adventure and asked if I could interview him. He gladly consented, bought me a cappuccino and we settled in for an impromptu interview. I began by asking him what he would like people to know about the island of Ventotene: Gerardo:On Ventotene, you can experience something that is impossible to feel in few places and that is the freedom to think clearly. Like the sea that is vast, your mind expands when you are here. Once in a lifetime people should come to Ventotene and catch their freedom. When you are alone you can experience freedom. The “Island of Thinking Freely, Peace and Love.” Margaret: What else is the island known for? Gerardo:The idea of the European Union was born on Ventotene during World War II when Italian anti-fascists Altiero Spinelli, Ernesto Rossi and Eugenio Colorni wrote the secret document The Ventotene Manifesto, while prisoners on Santo Stefano, the island we will pass when we enter the harbor. Margaret: I coach business executives and am always curious about their leadership beliefs and behaviors.How would you describe your leadership philosophy? Gerardo:First, you have to have a clear vision of the future. Second, you have to know the origin, traditions or roots of the people. If you care for the people, they will feel well. It’s a small thing, but it’s a big thing. I want to know their roots and where they want to go so we can go together. When it comes to making change, you must not go fast as there will be no people behind you. Margaret:That reminds me of a Swahili quote I learned earlier this year when I was in Tanzania. Do you know it? Gerardo:Yes! It goes something like this: Se vuoi andare veloce, vai da solo; se vuoi andare lontano, vai insieme. Margaret:Yes! In English is goes like this:If you want to go fast, go alone; If you want to go far, go together. Gerardo: Prego! I will teach you an important Italian phrase: Oggi è una bella giornata. Today is a beautiful day. Margaret:Indeed, it is. Grazie mille Gerardo. Gerardo:Prego.
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Preventing Workplace Negativity Could Save Billions

Having a toxic culture in the workplace can lead to a number of serious problems including employee burnout, dissatisfaction and absenteeism, all amounting to a significant loss in capital, according to a new report commissioned by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). The recently released 2019 SHRM Omnibus Survey found that bad workplace culture cost American businesses billions of dollars over the past five years due to turnover. SHRM President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP states in a release: “Billions of wasted dollars. Millions of miserable people. It’s not a warzone—it’s the state of the American workplace. Toxicity itself isn’t new. But now that we know the high costs and how managers can make workplaces better, there’s no excuse for inaction.” One out of five workers reported leaving a job because of poor workplace culture and almost 60 percent said their people managers were the main reason. The report also states that when employees feel like they have less autonomy, poor communication and they are not being heard, dissatisfaction sets in. Shola Richards, best-selling author of Making Work Work: The Positivity Solution for Any Work Environment, frequently speaks to businesses about the dangers of toxic workplace culture as well as workplace bullying. He says on top of the billions of dollars lost to these issues, the lives of employees are being damaged. “Employees who are forced to spend 40+ hours a week in a toxic environment pay an enormous price with their mental, emotional and physical health with life-diminishing outcomes ranging from PTSD to suicide,” Shola says. Toxic environments can add more stress and exhaustion, affecting the health and well-being of employees. This continued trend of bad culture can seep outside of the workplace having a negative impact on life beyond the job. Three out of 10 respondents already claim that workplace toxicity carries over into the home. “It is safe to say that any organization who is not consciously paying attention to this issue is actively making the world a worse place for all of us,” Shola says. Lead by Example More than three-quarters of employees agree that managers should be the people who set the workplace culture. A recent Gallup survey on disengaged employees found a 15 percent greater likelihood that an employee will thrive if their direct report is thriving too. “As a leader, your team is always watching you,” Shola says. “They’re observing how you handle someone who disagrees with you, they’re watching to see how (or if) you recognize someone for a job well done, they’re waiting to see how you respond when you’re up against a critical deadline and the stress is palpable.” He says leaders set the tone and if a bad tone is set, people will follow down the negative path and the toxicity spreads. But, he points out, examples can work both ways. “That’s why it is critical for leaders to set a positive, collaborative tone so that the culture has a greater chance of thriving.” Play the Right Way Having a positive workplace culture can be the X-factor that makes a business thrive. Employees who are happy and engaged are healthier, more productive and miss less work, according to Gallup. This is not only good for employees, but happy workers increase profits, too. Here are a few suggestions Shola has for employers to prevent a toxic workplace culture: “Listen to the employees, seek out their opinions and feedback, and take their concerns seriously.” “Have systems and policies in place—like an anti-bullying policy—to protect employees from toxic and abusive behavior (most importantly, these safeguards must be consistently enforced).” “Most importantly, be a model of civility and encourage (and reward) it in others.” Shola believes that employees can also play an active role in the company culture by not contributing to toxic behavior or being passive to the toxicity. “The most effective way for an individual to positively transform the culture is to be the change that you want to see in the world, as Gandhi once said,” Sholas says. “Equally as important is recruiting as many people as possible who are willing to do the same. This is how all meaningful change and world-altering movements are created, and I believe that this formula can also be effective in transforming workplace cultures.” For more on this topic, check out our podcast Overcoming Workplace Bullying With Dr. Britt Andreatta.
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Working From Anywhere in the World

The year was 1997. I had just launched The Greenberg Group. If you had told me that twenty-two years later all of my files would be stored in a cloud, I wouldn’t need a land-line phone, and I would be coaching and leading workshops virtually using something called Zoom, I would have said you’ve been watching too much Star Trek. All of these changes over the last two decades have made it possible for me to embark on a yearlong “Work-from-Anywhere-in-the-World.” I’m letting my speaking, teaching and other workshop commitments guide where in the world my husband and I will go. Of course, I’ll be writing about this experience regularly both here and on LinkedIn. What’s Changing? I am working completely virtually, unless of course you invite me to speak or work with you in your city or country. What’s NOT Changing? No, I am not retiring. I love what I do and am still committed to coaching talented leaders, doing inspiring keynotes and facilitating engaging leadership retreats/workshops around the world. I will still be co-leading one of the top 12 positive psychology courses you can take online with Senia Maymin which starts October 14, as well as writing our next book and blogging here. This week, I have two questions for you to think about. What have you been dreaming of doing? What is one small step you can take this week to realize your dream? I hope our paths continue to cross, either virtually or in-person. Cheers to living our dreams! Where in the World is Margaret H. Greenberg? As of today, we have about half of the year covered: August: East coast U.S.A. (Virginia, New Jersey and Maine). September: We will be in Paris and Italy. October: East coast U.S.A. (Hartford, Philadelphia and Rockville, MD). November: Texas and Virginia. December: Sunny Florida. January: Hopefully somewhere that has great snow for skiing. February: TBD March: Mexico City and Monterrey Mexico. April – July: TBD
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3 Ways You Can Work Like an Entrepreneur

If you aren’t familiar with entrepreneurs, you might assume that they lead the lonely life: You have the image of them toiling in a garage (Hewlett and Packard, Steve Jobs and Wozniack) or going it alone to keep a struggling business in the black. If that’s what you believe, have I got news for you: When entrepreneurs are “doing their thing” they are so driven (in a healthy way), so focused (as in the precursor to flow) and riding cloud nine. Entrepreneurs awake each day yearning to get to work. Often, they don’t stop working until someone prompts them to take a break so they can have a meal. The good news is even if you’re not an entrepreneur, you can be entrepreneurial. The ABCs of doing so are described below: Make It Better The entrepreneur has no need to invent anything at all to be happy! One of the most respected scholars in the field of entrepreneurship, Harvard economist Joseph Schumpeter, said that entrepreneurs engage in “creative destruction”—replacing old ways of doing things with new and improved methodologies. If you have “a better idea” regarding how something is done, you have most of what it takes to be entrepreneurial. All you must do is improve upon the status quo in a particular business arena or market. Your “better idea” doesn’t even need to be terribly novel. Consider how Amazon handles returns: If you ask for a refund on an item and it is within a reasonable period of time, a few keystrokes on your computer gets the job done. You do have to ship the item, but contrast returns to Mr. Bezos’ shop with most other vendors. Part of his genius is realizing that standing in line to return an item that’s wrong adds insult to injury. Yes, Amazon is much more that easy returns, but that alone is a game-changing idea. Passion Project You must be impassioned to be entrepreneurial and make yourself happy at work. In fact, you must see no impediments at all to actualizing your dream. The worst thing that can happen to an adult is to lose a child, particularly to a murderer. It happened to the woman who founded MADD (Mother’s Against Drunk Driving) and the man who founded America’s Most Wanted. Instead of seeking revenge for their losses, these people converted their rage into pro-social endeavors: MADD, to “get” all drunk drivers off the road, and America’s Most Wanted to bring all criminals to justice. The entrepreneurs behind these endeavors never flagged in the work it took to develop them. You needn’t suffer a major tragedy to get angry and “get them” in a pro-social manner. Does homelessness enrage you? Fight to help build it in a manner akin to Habitat for Humanity. Take any societal “wrong” and solve it creatively, and you’re guaranteed passion and entrepreneurial energy for life. Avoid the Burn Why is anger that is not converted into entrepreneurial energy the No. 1 predictor of job burnout? Burnout is born of Sisyphean work—rolling a rock up a hill only to have it roll down again, over and over, for eternity. Or, “the same old, same old.” If you feel that this sort of work is wasting your mind—your potential to do creative things—how can you feel anything but anger? The problem is, virtually all of us must work to pay bills, so it’s not guaranteed that we can march into a boss’s office and scream, “Take this job and shove it.” If you realize that you are angry but need to work, be entrepreneurial on the job. Take the worst aspect of your job or your company and improve upon it. The paradox of adding entrepreneurial work to your life is that it is energizing! It gives you a “runner’s high” because the feeling of doing something good—what psychologists call “self-efficacy”—taps into all the reward centers of your brain and spews “mood elevating” chemicals into your body.
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