Who’s Helping Who?

I’ve written before about parenting in a pandemic and how our kids are actually helping us (read: the adults) cope with the way life has become. I’ve noticed that younger kids, specifically, have seemingly slid into this new normal with relative ease.

For example, my youngest son (just shy of 18 months) is happy to wear his mask and often asks for it before we get out of the car (disclaimer: he still takes it off after a while but remembers to hand it to me so he doesn’t lose it. I consider this a big win).

My middle son remembers to grab an extra mask when we leave the house, “just in case I need a new one while we’re out.”

And my oldest son is quick to point out when people aren’t wearing masks and come a little too close, or if they aren’t wearing their masks properly (“Grampie, you should have your mask over your nose…”).

It makes me sad this is part of our normal behavior, but equally as proud that we don’t have an argument about this every time we leave the house.

In fact, we had a conversation this weekend about wearing masks and why some people “just don’t do it.” My oldest pointed out, “it’s so easy and really doesn’t make that much of a difference.”

Oh, my heart.

Kids are resilient little creatures. And they have so much to share to help us grown-ups learn how to develop our stamina and grit so we can show up smarter and ready to handle life’s challenges and changes.

Here are three things my sons have taught me about adjusting to change.

  1. It’s not really that different. Even if the change we’re experiencing is a big one, I’ve been amazed at the ease with which my kids seem to accept change (and they certainly don’t greet change with open arms). Big changes like when we grew from a family of 3 to 4, then to 5, or when we had to stay home because of the pandemic. Or even little changes like removing the big kid toys from the playroom until their little brother could be trusted to play with them. They just roll with it, accepting it as the new normal and seeing it as a thing that has to be done. This approach has taught me that even when you experience a change, even if it feels uncomfortable for a minute, it will just become normal to you if you let it. Acceptance of what is gives room to decide how to accommodate it. Fighting with what is just makes life tougher than it needs to be.
  2. Control yourself, especially if you can’t control the situation. Kids are basically instructed on what they can and can’t do; it’s part of growing up. They learn the rules of what constitutes acceptable behavior. But somewhere along the way of growing up, we forget these rules and often find ourselves angry and frazzled at the world when change is thrust on us. I previously wrote about one ER trip with my middle son: my boys couldn’t control the situation, but they could control themselves. Instead of being upset or angry that our routine was interrupted, they saw the trip to the ER as an adventure and were visibly vibrating with excitement. This constantly reminds me that despite whatever life shares with me, I will not always have control over the situation, but I will always have the requirement to manage how I think about it. The situation may not be mine to control, but my attitude about the situation will always be mine to control.
  3. Make it fun! Sometimes a change can be hard and, try as you might, things still feel uncomfortable. Without realizing it, I made a snide remark in front of my kids about my store-bought mask that kept slipping off my face. Their response: “why don’t you make one that looks like ours? Can you!? We can all match!!” Done, kids. Done. We are now a family of homemade mask wearers and, because I’m a mom of boys, we have matching construction, race car and Avengers masks (coming soon: Paw Patrol, Red Sox and general sports themes). Always ask, what could make this better? or what could make this fun? Even tough situations are hosts to new and fun things if we can learn to see them.

Life is what you make it. If you choose to fight against every change life shares with you, you’ll be miserable and uncomfortable. But if you allow yourself to see the opportunities that come from change, you’ll find the adjustment period doesn’t take long at all.

Take Action
Reflect on a recent change you experienced. How did you respond to the change? What worked? What didn’t work?

Recognize when you fight change because you feel like you have a lack of control and instead see how you can control yourself. The result will be a happier and, admittedly, a more relaxed version of you.

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading Rebounding from Tough Times Starts With You

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Developing Your Response to the Bully Boss

I’m going to share an amazing secret with you: you may not have control over every situation in life, but you have control over how you approach and respond to it.

Read that again. You have the ability to control yourself in every situation you encounter. You get to decide how you show up. You get to decide what the next moment will be like. This is an incredibly important thing to note.

And when it comes to dealing with a Bully Boss or some other toxic workplace situation, this can take you far.

I previously wrote about why adopting a “grin and bear it” mentality just doesn’t work when you’re working for a Bully Boss. And this can be particularly challenging when some people find themselves in a situation where finding new employment isn’t an option (or might be taking longer than you want).

But it’s possible to develop an effective response to a Bully Boss, even when it seems like it takes a lot of energy from you.

Here’s my guidance to help you consider how to stay true to yourself when you work for a Bully Boss and feel like you’ve lost control of the situation.

  1. Stop and Notice. Maybe the Bully Boss just yelled at you in front of everyone in a big meeting. Maybe they teased you in a very mean and unprofessional way. Maybe they encourage toxic gossip behavior with others. Whatever their behavior, take a breath and analyze the situation. Stop and notice what you’re thinking and feeling. Maybe you feel insulted or embarrassed. Maybe you are frustrated and annoyed. Maybe you feel pressured to answer an unwelcome invitation for fear of retaliation. Whatever you’re thinking or feeling, don’t judge it, just notice it.
  2. Figure out what inspires those thoughts and feelings. Recognize the feelings you have when you encounter a challenging moment with the Bully Boss and ask yourself why you’re feeling those big emotions. Frequently, we have big feelings and emotions when our values are called into question or if they are challenged. If you take great pride in your work and the Bully Boss constantly berates you for a poor job, you’ll have very powerful feelings around that. If you feel threatened in your job security because of an answer your Bully Boss doesn’t like, you’ll feel very strong feelings around this (and possibly conflicted thoughts that challenge your values). Notice when your feelings are the direct result of a value or belief you hold that you know is core to who you are. This also comes from gaining greater self-awareness.
  3. Choose your next action. You’ve intentionally recognized an event that is out of your control, why it inspires certain feelings and why those feelings come up. The next step is to decide what to do. Now, it doesn’t necessarily mean show up fighting or quit with no notice; there are options in between these extremes. What it means is that you can choose your attitude about this situation and the thoughts and actions it inspires. As you decide who you are (and will be) regardless of what others say and do, you create the internal strength to control your thoughts and actions. You stay in control of you.

Think of it this way: if you know you work for a Bully Boss, chances are that those around you know it too. If you’re yelled at in front of others or if you’re invited to join in a toxic gossip conversation, and you control your response to the situation, you’ll find it’s easier to always pick an action that is aligned to you. And a bonus: you just might become the inspiration for others to find their voice, as well.

You’ve figured out the Bully Boss is the issue, so what can you do about it? If you have control over the situation, go change it. If you don’t have control, figure out who and how you want to be in the situation. Remember, as you control your feelings and attitude about the situation, you will control your thoughts and actions. You will be who you want and believe yourself to be in any situation.

Take Action
This approach most definitely takes practice and a bit of resilience, as well, especially if the Bully Boss has been a presence in your life for any extended period of time. So practice it. Start to recognize when events in life inspire strong feelings, and notice when those feelings are positive and productive, too. This will help you build up your stamina to build your confidence to know that when confronted by a tough situation or a Bully Boss, you will be the person you choose to be.

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading Create Your Stopper

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“Grin and Bear It” Doesn’t Work with a Bully Boss

Working for a Bully Boss is hard and, unfortunately, so relatable. We’ve seen the Bully Boss portrayed in movies and shows as the incompetent idiot to the raging lunatic. And you know why those movies and shows are so popular? Because everyone can relate to the Bully Boss experience to some degree.

I certainly am one of them. For some reason, I’ve had more than my fair share of Bully Bosses (both men and women), from the manager who didn’t know how to speak at a normal volume (read: I was always yelled at) to the one who changed department goals overnight without communicating them to the team. It can feel like you’re being pulled in 20 different directions with no clear direction to find your way out.

It’s exhausting. It challenges your self-esteem. It inspires self-doubt. It impacts the way you show up to work and the way you show up to your relationships outside of work. And worse, these Bully Bosses always make you feel like you are the problem.

Working for a Bully Boss is hard.

And though others may try to offer to help, the options presented are always one of two things: make a change or suck it up.

Sometimes, making a change isn’t an option due to a variety of reasons, so it leaves people little choice but to grin and bear it.

But this is important: accepting a “grin and bear it” attitude with a Bully Boss doesn’t work.

Here’s why:

  1. Your attitude changes. You try to protect yourself in some way, so you adopt an indifference approach to how you show up to work. In your effort to let the nasty and toxic behaviors roll off your shoulders, you unwittingly shut yourself off from everything else. You become a shell of yourself, lacking enthusiasm, dedication and, perhaps most importantly, your personality. You are disengaged and disconnected. The difficult things in life seem to rise to the top as your attitude has shifted from optimism to pessimism.
  2. Your work changes. When you adopt the indifference attitude, your work starts to suffer. You don’t go the extra mile or engage in new ideas that can generate great opportunities for you and the business. Instead, you do just enough to not get fired. You try to fly under the radar, delivering items as they’re due, and never before. You stop looking for ways to expand your career or develop yourself because you just want to get through the day, and that’s all you can think of. And sometimes, the harsh criticisms you get from the Bully Boss about the quality of your work start to materialize.
  3. Your home life changes. When you work for a jerk and feel defeated throughout the day, it’s hard to not bring that defeated attitude home. And whether it’s intentional or not, as soon as you become indifferent to your work, you start to become indifferent to many of the other things around you, even things you care most about. You start to lack energy and excitement for the things you really looked forward to and instead opt to just sit and rest. You feel tired more often and you disengage from your friends and family. Sometimes, you can even begin to recognize real health issues.

You can’t just grin and bear it when you work for a Bully Boss. It’s a cascading thing; they intrude into every part of your life if you let them.

So before you tell yourself to just “grin and bear it” and push through your day, stop and notice the person you’ve become. This can be an enlightening moment for you, if you let it.

Take Action
If you work for a Bully Boss or find yourself in a toxic work environment, ask yourself: am I staying true to who I am?

The person you are, at your core, cannot be changed unless you allow it. You control the direction of your life. If you can’t control a situation, you can control your response to it. Decide who you want to be without regard to who others are. You own you. Choose your attitude and your approach. It is empowering.

So, if your Bully Boss is impacting how you show up (to work and life), consider looking for new employment options. It might not happen overnight, but know when it is time. And, be sure to properly vet each new opportunity to avoid moving from one Bully Bos to another. Stay clear about who you are and how you will show up to the things in your work and life. Make changes as necessary. Your sanity and happiness is yours to create.

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading How You Act Won’t Influence How I Show Up and take our quiz Do I Work for a Bully Boss?

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Rebounding from Tough Times Starts With You

“You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think,” says the great author A. A. Milne. These aren’t just words. They are a reminder that the way out of any tough time starts with you.

Most of us have been led to believe that we don’t have what it takes to get up when the world pushes us down. We have been taught that we are weak and should therefore rely on others, our institutions or even our faith. But there’s a common denominator in all of this: any movement forward starts with you. For that, you must learn to know yourself and believe yourself capable, even in difficult times.

Most of my clients come to me not believing they have what it takes to achieve or address the thing that has brought them to me. They can’t see their way out of a challenge. They can’t achieve something that always seems out of reach.

My conversation with them starts by shifting their focus from the external (the thing they want to achieve or address) to the internal (the strengths, talents, passions and values that make them who they are).

A large part of why life seems so difficult for many people is they are unaware of how expansive they are – braver, stronger and smarter. We can’t rely on some of amazing attributes to help us through tough times if we don’t know them. That requires self-discovery and self-awareness. So, I guide my clients to start their work by developing a larger understanding of the abilities they have available to them at any moment, and to employ those abilities as needed. When they do this, they start to realize that many of life’s events that had been able to derail or distract them can be more easily handled.

Here are several of the activities I recommend to my clients to expand what they know of themselves.

  • Take a personality or abilities assessment to provide practical language of your abilities, including an introduction to abilities you may have been unaware you possess.
  • Journal your thoughts and feelings as events happen. Over time you will see your true nature and abilities come through in your thoughts.
  • Answer questions like
    • What do others applaud me for?
    • When I feel confident/successful, what am I doing?
    • When I am fully engaged and having a great time what am I doing?
    • When I make a difference that matters, what am I doing?
    • If you were to introduce yourself to someone new, what five of my attributes would I share?
  • When you find yourself avoiding or ignoring something, stop and notice why you are acting this way.
  • Ask a family member or friend to share their view of your greatest abilities and where they see you using them.

As you gather information, summarize it so you can start to see an expanding understanding of yourself. Now with greater personal awareness, look at a tough situation and ask yourself, “Which of my abilities will help me here?” This shift from feeling challenged about the situation to addressing it head-on by using your expanded abilities activates your energy, confidence and success.

Sure, there will be some extremely tough events in life – some larger than any of us. But most of what we feel are challenging situations take on this feeling because we fail to see that we are braver, stronger and smarter than we believe ourselves to be. We just need to know more about ourselves.

Take Action
It is up to you to navigate yourself through all of the situations in life, both the easy ones and the tough ones. The easy ones build your energy. The tough ones require your energy. Fuel yourself with knowledge about who you are (through self-discovery work) so that you have it ready to go when life asks more of you.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading Why Everyone Needs a Snapshot

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Parents: Know When It’s Time to Take a Break

I’ve been burned out a lot in my career and nothing has compared to the pure burnout I’ve felt as a working parent over the past year. I think a lot of parents can relate. In fact, I’ve seen a slew of articles over the past few weeks that talk about parenting burnout and, in conversations I’ve had with friends and family, we’ve all come to the same conclusion: DUH.

Though it’s encouraging to know we’re not alone in these challenging times, it’s equally as frustrating. Why is it that parents are expected to do so much and take on even more now when the world is spinning backward and upside down?

I asked myself this question a lot recently and I realized something very important. I used the word expected. It made me ask another question: who is expecting me to do all of this?

The answer was surprising: me.

I expected to work full time, while having all three of my kids home and stuck inside during the cold winter months. I expected to be able to have a healthy, home cooked meal on the table every night and see all of my kids eat it every time. I expected to have every household chore done so there was no dust build up and no one had to look for clean underwear or a specific pair of pants. I expected my kids to work through their challenges without resulting in a brawl every time.

I set these expectations. And when I couldn’t achieve them, I felt deflated, defeated and angry. I got short with people – my kids and husband especially. I wouldn’t answer the phone with my family called because I didn’t want to end up in a fight with them about something dumb.

I was tired and I was burned out because I created unrealistic expectations. I expected myself to be supermom when even a true superhero couldn’t achieve the things I had on my daily to-do list.

I know that every parent is in the same yet very different situation. We’re all trying to navigate working and childcare and home life. It’s HARD. And when we have these heavy expectations on our shoulders, it feels harder.

I’m challenging every parent to try something new this week: TAKE A BREAK.

Working through burnout in the working world is so different from burnout as a parent. At work, you take a break, literally. You leave for a few days. You logout. You disconnect.

But how can you take a break when your kids need you all day every day? How can you take a break when you’re balancing work calls with the next Zoom call for your Kindergartener who really shouldn’t be left unattended at the laptop? How can you take a break when everything (*gestures vaguely*) needs to get done?

Start here: breathe.

Starting from that breath, consider these tips to give yourself the break you need to work through parenting burnout in a mindful way:

  1. Recognize Control. You cannot have complete control over every single person, event or situation in your life. Not possible. You can, however, control how you respond to those things. I like to think of it like this: you can’t control a situation, but you can control how you respond to it. The bickering from your kids. The double-booked Zoom meetings. The baskets of laundry waiting to be folded and put away. If you are able to control it, do something about it. If you can’t control it, change your attitude about it.
  2. Change Your Attitude. Oof. Writing that made my head spin. I can’t tell you how many times I heard that growing up and how many times I say it to my boys. But here’s the truth: your attitude in any situation inspires your actions. If you’re angry, I bet you’re more likely to yell than to have a calm conversation. If you’re exhausted and defeated, you’re probably going to be short and avoid talking or dealing with something. Check in with yourself to see what your attitude is like and notice why you have that attitude. What inspired it? How productive is it? Are you more interested in venting or solving? That attitude will influence your thoughts and actions. Choose wisely.
  3. Give Yourself Some Space. You know when you need to separate the kids to give them some space from each other? It’s time you do that for yourself. Create a time or place where you get your space. Whether it’s for 10 minutes or 4 hours, commit to this. This is time for you to intentionally recharge without worrying about who is fighting or what work isn’t getting done. This is for you. The only way you can get here, though, is to see yourself and this space as critical to your mental health. In that space, have a list of things you do to create a moment of rest, Zen, peace or joy. This could include a connection to a hobby, a call to a friend, a favorite snack or beverage, journaling or even some time in nature. Remember that this space is for you to reconnect and breathe, not to ruminate on the things that still need to be done. Remember, you are worth it.

Take Action
Parenting burnout is the most extreme level of tired I’ve ever experienced in my life, and finding time to take a much needed break is hard. But when you commit to checking in with yourself, you’ll find that the flame that you thought was long gone is actually still there, just waiting for some fuel to help it grow bigger.

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading Your Check Engine Light

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How to Rally in Tough Times

There are some events in life that seem to knock the wind out of us. Things like a bad performance review at work or an unexpected job termination. Things like a foreclosure, a divorce or a tough diagnosis. These events feel personal. When they happen, we feel like we have been punched in the gut.

But, as the sun rises each day, we must also rise up and keep moving, regardless of how we feel. As we have seen throughout the pandemic, those who succeed are the ones who learn how to develop the stamina to deal head-on with what life sends and the grit to find a solution, even in the toughest of times. They rally because they know how to move past the challenges and see the opportunities. This empowers and engages them to keep moving forward.

As a Coach, I regularly engage with clients who are trying to reconnect to their mojo – to rally in tough times. Here is some of the advice and guidance I share.

  1. Shift your attitude to one that is about rebounding and taking action. Regardless of how it feels, remember that tough times are not personal. Life doesn’t have you in its crosshairs; it is what it is. This is an important realization to be able to move past the feeling of being a victim and start to identify your feelings. Why do you feel the way you do? Try saying it out loud to help you better understand it. Feelings inspire your attitude, which then affects your thoughts and actions, so make time to understand and acknowledge your feelings to be able to move past them. Once you’re clear about what you are feeling, check in on your attitude. Optimistic attitudes create the space to feel energized to deal with what needs to be done. Pessimistic attitudes just hold you back. Shifting your attitude to something more productive will help you refocus your thoughts and actions to things that are more productive.
  2. Refocus on the goal. Now with a more positive attitude, refocus or recommit to the goal. Clarity about what you want and need to achieve can inspire you to get back up and keep moving. See the value in your goal. Imagine what it will feel like when it is achieved and use this energy to get excited and rally.
  3. Engage your support network. Since life and work are tough, develop and rely on your support network to help you manage your attitude, to see things clearly and support you as you work to make things happen. The phrase, “none of us is as smart as all of us,” should serve as a reminder to you to engage with others to solicit ideas and new approaches. Your support network will be more inclined to support and help the optimistic version of you instead of the complaining, pessimistic you.

Take Action
On its best day, life and work are tough, even if we love what we do. Things happen that seem to sucker punch us or knock us down. It is in these exact moments that call on you to see that you have what it takes to understand, direct and respond in a way that makes the best out of what is happening. Stamina and grit are needed in today’s world. They are success skills.

Tune in to your feelings. Understand them. Shift your attitude to one that will support you. Get refocused on what you are trying to achieve and then engage others to help you rally and get back in the game. Then, as life sends other sucker punches (and it will), you will be more aware that you have what it takes to rally and persevere.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading Go Center Yourself

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Stamina and Grit: What Does this Mean to You?

When you hear the words “stamina” and “grit,” what type of response does it elicit in you?

How does it make you feel?

What does it make you think?

Here’s what we think:

  • Stamina, for many of us, means you can last longer. As a recent spin-fanatic, stamina and endurance go hand-in-hand. I’ve done more than my fair share of interval workouts and every coach talks about building up your endurance so you can be stronger to last longer. This is based in your physical capacity.
  • Grit, for many of us, means fighting through it. To grin and bear it. To have the mental ability to push through. To shift your mind, driving toward the outcome you want. This is based in your mental capacity.

Stamina and grit are words that show up over and over when people find they are faced with challenges and obstacles. And based on where we are in the world today, we thought this would be a great theme for us to focus on over the next few weeks.

So, for the purpose of our Stamina & Grit theme, we’re defining Stamina as endurance in tough times and Grit as determination in tough times.

Perhaps the most surprising revelation we have for you today is this: you have stamina and grit. How does it show up for you? And how do you develop it so it is ready for when you need it?

Take Action
This week, if you find yourself faced with a challenge, however big or small, remind yourself you have the endurance and determination to work through it, to drive toward the outcome you want.

Follow these steps:

  1. Clearly define the challenge and what your desired outcome looks like.
  2. Define what this challenge needs from you – both physically and mentally (how do you need your stamina and grit to show up?).
  3. Assess your degree of each right now so you can determine how to move forward (do you need more stamina and grit? Less? A little of one and less of another?).
  4. Define your action steps to use these important skills in today’s challenging moments.

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading Create Your Stopper

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What Employees Don’t Need from you in this Moment

We care about our employees. And from that place, we regularly offer advice on what they can do to deal with the difficulty of this moment.

Here are some things I have heard lately:

  • Tough through it. Tough times won’t last.
  • Find a way to focus on what you have, not what you don’t have.
  • Just be happy because it could be worse.
  • Change your attitude; stop being so negative.
  • You have to have stamina and grit or every tough situation will take you down.
  • Just get back up and keep going. That’s what successful people do.

To be honest, these are incredibly unhelpful.

In most cases, your employees are aware of all of this “wisdom.” They know WHAT they should do, the challenge is they don’t know HOW to do it, especially in today’s world. That is really what they want and need from you: guidance to navigate the challenging situation we’re all in that no one could have predicted.

So instead of telling them what to do, help them learn how to do it. Here are three ways to shift from the WHAT to the HOW.

  1. Be present. Most of us don’t know how to be in this moment because we don’t really know our abilities – the things that are part of us to help us in this exact moment. To help employees learn to tune in to themselves, offer some self-awareness training. Engage a coach to lead them through developing an inventory of abilities or use an online assessment. Make time to debrief the results and help employees see HOW to use their abilities to deal with today’s tough times. Someone who is organized, for example, can use that ability to calmly stay in control of daily activities. Someone who is empathetic can help others talk through their challenges and feelings. Someone who is more direct can use that ability to cut through the fluff and get the answers and guidance the company needs. We are all more talented and capable than we know. Your employees can’t use what they don’t know, so give them the tools to help them fill in the blanks about who they are.
  2. Understand the moment. The real issue is that we are in challenging times that make us feel that we have little or no control. This activates our limbic brain, the part of the brain that reverts to safety and caution, so we are routinely in fight, flight or freeze reactions. Everything seems amplified and more difficult from that mindset. So, the shift in mindset is HOW to deal with this moment. This first starts with understanding. Share with employees why they are feeling this way, that this is normal in a period of extended stress and that most others are in this same situation. This prepares them for HOW to take action in our next step.
  3. Develop a toolbox of success habits. This is where you can help your employees develop tangible actions that help them actually develop stamina and grit, how to improve their attitude and how to be grateful for what they have.

Watch the Video: What Employees Don’t Need From You Right Now

Here are some options of HOW to rally in tough times that I share with my clients, as well as a few ideas they’ve shared with me:

  • Develop a gratitude practice by starting and ending each day with a list of 5 things you are grateful for, including your abilities; share this with a family member or friend.
  • Develop a practice to breathe deeply when you encounter a challenge (breathe in for a count of 4, hold it for a count of 4, breathe out for a count of 4; do as often as is needed).
  • Develop a network of people (phone a friend) to check in on (they need your help to help them out of feeling sorry for themselves; you need their help to help you stop feeling sorry for yourself). Do this as often as needed.
  • Develop a connection to nature (nature delivers a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week distraction to shift out of challenge and on to beauty).
  • Exercise or do yoga to shift your mind off the stresses of the day and onto your health and wellbeing (invite a friend).
  • Journal or write about your thoughts, feelings and emotions to better understand them and to gain context.
  • Focus on a celebration or great time that has recently happened. Dream of how to do something like it again.

Gather and share more ideas so all employees have a start in HOW to change their attitude about what is happening to show up more energized and excited, even when they face tough and challenging times.

Most of us don’t know how strong, resilient and adaptable we are until we go head-to-head with tough times. Then, with some tools and some guidance, we find that we are able to rally – to dig deeper and find that we are, as A.A. Milne shares in his famous quote, “braver than we believe, stronger than we seem and smarter than we think.”

Take Action
Your employees don’t need you to remind them WHAT they should be doing; they really need you to help them with HOW to do it. Consider developing a company initiative to address HOW to help employees stay upbeat, focused and energized, even when the world around them is tough. This is one of the greatest values you can create for an employee – a value they will actively take and use everywhere in life.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading What You Don’t Know About Your Employee is Impacting Your Team’s Performance

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Watch our video on YouTube.

When the Bully Boss Intrudes at Home

A majority of the working world does their work from home. When we were all sent to the safety of our homes at the start of the COVID pandemic last year, organizations rushed to find a way to ensure the work would still get done. And a lot of them succeeded.

But there was an unforeseen consequence to the shift to the remote world: inviting the Bully Boss into your home.

A Bully Boss is one of the most challenging bullies people can face in their lives. They’re mean and ruthless, unafraid to point out a person’s flaws to the largest audience possible without offering any guidance into how improvements can be made. They’re loud, they scream and they’re quick to anger. They can be manipulative and love to point the finger instead of accepting blame or admitting mistakes.

Though this sounds like any type of bully, the big difference in a schoolyard bully and a Bully Boss is this: they have a direct impact on your ability to make a living.

For this reason, many people just grin and bear it, pushing through the mental beating day after day because they need the paycheck. And they look forward to the end of the day when they can escape to the restorative place they call home. Some would call this a hostile workplace.

When you work for a Bully Boss, your home becomes your safe haven, your sanctuary, the place where you can escape from their wrath and get refocused and re-energized before the next day.

But now that you work at home? Your Bully Boss has direct access to you any time they want. They’ve intruded into your safe space, erasing the line you precariously drew to keep work and life separate for your mental wellbeing.

So how do you manage the Bully Boss when your safe haven is now your workspace?

Here are 3 ways to shift your mindset to manage the presence of the Bully Boss in your home.

1. Find your voice.
Up until now, actively trying to avoid the Bully Boss, especially if they were having a particularly bad day, became almost an office game. Just like buzzword bingo, the game created a sense of unity with those you worked with. People would tell you where the Bully Boss was headed or where they were so you could take the long way around. You knew to keep your head down and avoid eye contact.

But now, when the Bully Boss wants you, there’s no hiding. They have direct access to you. They can email you repeatedly, ping you on a messenger app or use Zoom for face-to-face discussions. There’s little escape here. This may seem particularly daunting, especially when you lose your squad; no one has insight into who the Bully Boss will zoom in on next.

But when you’re at home, you’re able to tap into a unique strength: your space. You can decide how you will and won’t be treated in your own home. Use this as your launching pad to decide the type of language and behavior you expect in your home and embody it. Use it to find your voice.

This doesn’t necessarily mean telling them off. Start small. Recognize the tone you’re using and the words you choose to use. Keep your language positive and upbeat. Lean into that restorative energy your home provides to use your voice in a productive way. Sometimes, that positive shift in your voice unintentionally boosts your confidence and can easily rub off on those around you.

2. Take control of your image.
I mean this literally. Since so many organizations rely on Zoom and other video chat options to engage with each other face-to-face, take control of the image you want your Bully Boss – and other colleagues – to see. When you dial into a video call, you know everyone looks at the image behind you, so think ahead: what do you want them to see? Whether it’s your home office organized or decorated a certain way, or even just a personalized background image, take control of the image you project. Similar to your word choice and tone, knowing you control your image can also create a confidence boost, letting you show up stronger and more engaged, regardless of what the Bully Boss might be throwing your way.

3. You don’t live with them.
At the end of the day, it’s all about perspective. Yes, they are still your boss and yes, they have intruded on your private space. But here’s the great silver lining: you don’t live with them. You can log off and walk away from your desk with the peace of mind that they don’t live there. If nothing else, this should give you an instant boost in morale and confidence that you can control just how much they see of your space and how much you’re willing to let their behavior impact you in your own home.

Though these tips are helpful to manage your response and approach to dealing with a Bully Boss, sometimes, your physical and mental health are threatened and you requires an intentional next step: be prepared to make a change if necessary. It all comes down to your physical, mental and emotional health. Remember the adage, “people quit people before they quit companies.” If you like working at your company, determine if you can transfer to a different department or team. If you’re looking for a completely fresh start, create a list of potential organizations that would be a fit for you and start exploring new options.

You are worth the support, care and encouragement of a great boss. You never should put up with a bully – anywhere in life – but particularly in the workplace.

Do you work for a Bully Boss? Take our quiz to find out.

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading How You Act Won’t Influence How I Show Up

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Step Into Their Shoes

There’s a lot happening in the world and now, more than ever, organizations are encountering a very frustrating situation: distracted employees.

Distracted employees often don’t perform to their best and can be extremely short-tempered. But what they don’t need is a manager or leadership meeting them at this level.

What they need is someone to step into their shoes to understand what’s distracting them, to understand what life is like for them, to ask “How can I help?”

If you consider our theme at The Forte Factor this month (Lead with Love), this ties into it beautifully. Because leading with love doesn’t mean romantic interest, and it also doesn’t mean you’re soft. It actually just means that you care.

Think about the impact caring can have on a particularly distracted or stressed employee. You’ll not only help them get to a solution that will genuinely help them, but you’ll also create loyalty and respect, too.

 

Watch the video

 

Watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/kvvRdMCs-M8.

Consider reading How You Act Won’t Influence How I Show Up

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