No matter what your business or company specializes in, your customers are extremely important, and much of their experience depends on the individuals they work with: your employees. As a consumer yourself, I’m sure you’ve noticed when companies, businesses, or even government agencies have “dropped the ball” and are essentially just doing the bare minimum to punch the clock and get paid. Talk about a sad state of being, especially at work where you spend the majority of your waking hours! So how do you go about making sure your employees are happy, passionate, and fully contributing their unique value? Read on to learn more.
There are typically five key areas that should be examined to determine whether your work environment is healthy or not. If it isn’t, you may have some work ahead of you, but getting and keeping everyone on track will be well worth it in the long run. If you discover problems in one of these areas, you may need to overhaul everyone’s attitudes and habits, so brace yourself – if you’re a mindful leader getting ready to take on a company or department revision of any kind, be ready for challenges, resistance, and maybe even having to let a few people go (depending on how things play out).
Alright, now that we’ve covered the doom-and-gloom part, let’s get back to our usual business of sharing solutions.
Five Areas of Interest for a Healthy Work Environment
1. The Leadership.
Oh, no! No leader wants to hear this, right? However, one of the first places to look for issues concerning the work environment as a whole is whether leaders in this department or organization are narcissistic, sociopathic, manipulative, or otherwise toxic. If you’re the leader and this doesn’t seem like you, then you might be okay (although you may consider asking for feedback from your employees to be sure). If you’re evaluating another leader’s performance and see any kind of toxic behavior, do what is necessary to keep this person from destroying the health of the organization from within.
2. The Communication.
Communication is important anytime there are people involved, so unless you’re living as a hermit, off-grid in a cave somewhere in the mountains, it may benefit you to hone your communication skills… and everyone else, for that matter. Communicative dysfunctions can come in the form of misleading information, indirect communication (sending messages through other people), and withholding information. Pay attention to learn whether this is an area of concern or not.
3. The Side-Effects.
Are your employees depressed, gaining weight, suffering from addiction or alcoholism, or not sleeping well? These could all be the result of a toxic work environment, so if one department in particular seems like its employees are unhealthy, sluggish, or just plain miserable, you may need to take a look at that department to determine what’s going on. This type of development over time is not good, and it may eventually even be the downfall of the entire company. It’s better to acknowledge and solve a problem when you discover it rather than letting it fester and get worse.
4. The Rules.
If policies and rules are followed sometimes and ignored other times, the entire work environment begins to break down into chaos. One hand doesn’t know what the other is doing, and this makes dealing with the company an extremely frustrating experience for its vendors, customers, and even employees. Is everyone up to date on policies and procedures in your department? What about your company as a whole?
5. The Culture.
Attitudes can be contagious, whether they’re positive or negative. Just as misery loves company, so, too, does a happy soul love another happy soul to interact with. If your employees complain, feel miserable, and focus on all of the negative aspects of their job, then everyone will be miserable soon enough. However, if there are a few daily habits in place to put everyone in a more positive mood, you can keep the good vibes strong while disempowering chronic complainers.
Now that you know where to look for problems, how do you think your company, organization, or department is doing? Is your work environment somewhat healthy, or do you have your work cut out for you? Tell us your story by leaving a comment or reaching out to us via email. We love hearing from you!
As always, continue leading mindfully and have a wonderful week.
For more information on the Mindfulness Movement and mindful leadership, please visit:
Need some help with your mindfulness practice? The Mindful Moments can certainly help!
At its core, fear does one single, crippling thing to you if you allow it to: it controls you. Whether you like it or not, whether you admit it or not, fear can take over the power to run your life, making you worry about the past or future while the present passes you by. And yes... at first, your reaction will be to deny that this is your case. Once worrying and anxiety has become a habit, that habit can be difficult to break. But don’t add that to your list of worries – instead, you can form constructive habits to face your fears and live your life in the present.
There are some people who have faced adversity, struggle, and impossible challenges early in life and were essentially forced to face their fears or completely fall apart. You’ve probably heard some of these stories. The story of a young domestic violence survivor, the story of a child born without an arm or a leg, the story of a child born without the ability to hear or speak; all of these people were essentially forced to live their best lives by working with their challenges and setbacks instead of fighting against them.
And therein lies the key to facing your fears constructively: working with them instead of against them.
Everyone is afraid. I don’t care who you are, whether you’re a homeless veteran or the CEO of a multi-million dollar company... everyone is afraid. In brain science, this response is caused by what is referred to as the reptilian brain and is also known as the fight or flight response.
It is caused when our minds perceive something as being scary, dangerous, or unfamiliar.
This can happen in a number of scenarios. You’re the new kid at school, you’re starting your first day of college and don’t understand the industry lingo (yet), you booked your first public speaking gig, you’re being interviewed on video for the first time ever, you’re moving to another country for work, you’re getting married, you’re a concert pianist performing in front of thousands of people.... There are a million different things you could be afraid of in any of these situations, and your mind perceives it as a scenario where you have to fight or flee.
But do you really have to fight or flee?
Five Ways to Face Your Fears
1. Differentiate between unfounded fears and legitimate fears. The situation may be one in which fear serves you and the fight or flight response is necessary; if you witness a shooting, it’s probably not a good idea to go charging toward it to face your fears. Let’s leave that to the people trained to handle that type of situation.
2. Feel your fear and acknowledge it. This is an internal practice, but stay with me here. Allowing yourself to feel the fear you’re experiencing and think about it while breathing or meditating will make you feel more comfortable with your fear as you become familiar with it. You will find yourself recognizing that fear is simply an emotion, and you can reframe your own perception to work with this emotion rather than being crippled by it.
3. Identify exactly what you’re afraid of. Usually, at its core, you will find that it’s fairly simple: a fear of rejection, a fear of failure, or a fear of disappointment. Once you’ve identified the root of your fear, it becomes much easier to work with it and use it to your advantage.
4. Be honest with yourself. No one has to know except for you; that’s why we call this internal work. It’s your job to be self-aware and mindful of your habits and personality type so you can have the type of personal accountability that a successful, passionate life demands.
5. Make peace with your fear. You must forgive yourself in advance if you’re going to fail, be rejected, or be disappointed. Perfection is unattainable, and excellence requires failure to learn from. Make the decision to be okay with any outcome you may experience and simply do your best in the situation you find yourself in.
Your future success and prosperity are waiting for you just beyond your fears. Isn’t it time to stop worrying and start living your life to its fullest? Remember that the only one who can ultimately control you is you.
As the New Year hits, most of us turn to recapping the year behind us, then setting goals for the year to come. Goals are fantastic as they help us set a direction. If you don't know where you are trying to go, how do you ever know if you get there?
When I think about resiliency as a goal, I think of being resilient as building a better foundation, so that we are more able to adapt, flex, and grow through the things life brings our way. Being resilient means demonstrating our ability to effectively and easily navigate our lives.
We have all heard the motto; "It is not what happens to us, but how we respond that matters." I am forever working to increase both my own and my children's level of resiliency. I want us to be prepared for those times when we may be knocked around, or even down. I want us to get back up, dust ourselves off, and have a reserve of energy to make what we want happen.
If you wish to take a look at your level of resiliency (or how well you bounce back), try taking a look at some of these aspects of your life.
Try to slow your pace a little. Stop, look, and listen, so that you understand what is really happening vs. what story you have built around the situation. The story is not tangible but will drive our emotions and therefore our actions. Be deliberate in the things you focus on.
Resiliency is a great goal. With a little focus, you can build it and be a better person for having it.
All the best!
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We just received word that our flagship Executive Coaching Training Program (CMEC) was approved by the International Coach Federation! We can now award 15 CCEUs (credit hours) toward coaching certifications with the ICF. This is a wonderful compliment to our SHRM certifications.
This is such a beautiful reflection on our entire team. Congratulations to all of you!
Many thanks to all of you for your support over the years. We are so blessed…
You can find details here:
Founder and CEO
According to Gallop (and other leading survey firms) here is the reality:
What do you think of these smelling salts?!
Coaching can address all of these issues…in fact; it may well be the ONLY thing that can cure these workplace “ills.”
If you don’t have a coaching strategy in your organization, I can guarantee you one thing—these statistics will not go down…
Coaching is the “cure.” Isn’t it time you used coaching to focus on your most important asset…your people?
A. Drayton Boylston
Founder and CEO
Executive Coaching University
© 2013 and beyond Executive Coaching University. All rights reserved.
Are Leading or just Managing?
Pretty sad facts.
Guess what? They more than likely apply to your organization too.
If you manage people, you own this!
What’s happening within our workforce to make these statistics a reality?
In the United States employee engagement only averages 30%. That's it.
It comes down to poor leadership.
We have spent so much energy creating “good managers” that we have become disengaged with what it means to be a good leader.
Managing comes from a need to produce an outcome, which of course, is important. However, when we can move to a place of leading those around us the organizational momentum transforms. More than anything employees want to make a contribution. Once they feel that they are, they stay...and they stay engaged. Which boosts your bottom line.
If you have the management skills without the leadership skills your career will plateau at some point. That is a fact.
The soft skills that good leaders possess are going to be in high demand as the battle for top talent continues to increase. Are you ready?
Want to learn how to become a better leader? Click here for details.
Coaching In The Workplace - Training for Executives, Managers, and HR Professionals
© 2014 and beyond Executive Coaching University. All rights reserved.
While our time together progressed, my client must have glanced towards, or checked in some way, her “smart phone” three or four times over the course of our first fifteen minutes.
I commented on her split attention and asked her to turn off the phone and just be focused on our time together for the next forty five minutes – fully focused upon our work. The look on her face would have lead someone not knowing my request, to think I had asked her to do something exceptionally distasteful…maybe even illegal!
Through our discussion around my request it became quite clear that she had NEVER turned off her phone – it was always on. This meant she was always connected, always available, always “on.”
She explained that this level of being available and connected was the status quo at her corporation and essentially had been the status quo since she was at University. “What if I miss something really important?” she asked. “I’m not productive if I’m not juggling a number of issues, projects, or conversations at once!” she stated.
This multitasking misconception arises quite often, especially with high performers who see their success as driven by the ability to do many tasks at the same time.
Yet, there is a downside to always being “on.” Consider:
Is it possible that any of the above might contribute to the 33% worker productivity rate in the U.S? 33%!!!
There are also other, more personal costs. This particular client was referred to me due to increasing conflicts between her staff and those in her chain of command – she had become “hard to work with” and was close to losing the job she so valued.
Additionally, her marriage was on the verge of divorce and she had been diagnosed with digestive/intestinal issues primarily caused by stress.
Coincidence? Not likely!
Sound familiar? Chances are if you are reading this then you have experienced, or know someone close to you who has experienced, a very similar chain of events.
Take time to focus within the moment, express gratitude, and disconnect at least once daily. You will find you are actually more productive, healthier, and happier. Then lead all those around you to do the same!
Director of Special Projects