Monthly Archives: April 2013

Personal Politics of Workplace Dysfunction

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Most of us have had jobs working in a dysfunctional environment. We either had a dysfunctional supervisor or we worked with dysfunctional people on our team. I know I have. Once I reached my personal “point of no return”, no amount of money would have kept me working there.

I have witnessed professionals I have coached who bravely tried to work with their dysfunctional supervisors. Eventually they left jobs and teams they liked because of disrespectful managers. Interestingly, these professionals found jobs they loved working in respectful cultures. The amount of stress they left behind when they moved on was well worth it.

Ultimately, we may not be able to influence our work surroundings but we all have control of our choice whether to stay or to leave.

Are You Being Passionate or Just Emotional?

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A student of mine once made the important distinction that “you drive passion whereas emotion drives you”.

One of my mistakes in business was using the word passion as a convenient excuse for an emotional response. Instead of stepping back and logically analyzing a particular situation, I would often wind up making an emotional response. Afterwards someone would say “wow … you seem to be passionate about that”. Although people want to be lead by a passionate person, most importantly, they want that person to be in control of their emotions.

There were times when I composed myself in not making an emotional response and each time it was a painful experience. Yes painful! Because I rationalized my emotional responses as passionate responses, I didn’t realize I should even be changing my behavior. It wasn’t until we sold our company and I was able to step back through teaching and writing that the emotional mistakes I made became clearer to me.

I think we must first recognize that the essential ingredient to changing a behavior is going through the effort of practice. Most everyone knows that anything you want to get better at requires practice. With all difficult practice, whether physical or mental: “no pain, no gain”.

We can either embrace the pain of practice or we can make excuses and rationalizations.  My rationalization was equating an emotional response to a passionate response.

By embracing and practicing the act of emotional self control, we can ultimately become stronger leaders and set a good example for the people around us.