It sucks when you have a job that you hate. I get that. I have had some pretty crappy jobs in my life.
It sucks when your boss is an ass. I get that too. I have had some bad bosses.
It sucks when you work in a negative and emotionally toxic environment. Been there and done that too.
It sucks if you have to supervise a whining snivelling malcontent or toxic employee. I understand the challenge of that scenario.
If you checked off any or all of the above boxes as identifying your current situation at work, that sucks. The reality however, is that you only have three choices when the Suck Factor strikes:
- Change your Attitude - Embrace the Suck, Look for the Good and Dare to Be Great.
- Change your Job.
- Choose to be Miserable. (Yes it is a choice.)
Right now some of you are thinking (or screaming out loud), “Brian. You don’t understand.”
I get that response a lot and actually I do understand.
Remember Simple versus Easy. Simple is lack of complexity. Easy is lack of effort. Your choices are Simple, not Easy.
As nice as it would be for everyone in the world to, “Find a job you love so you never have to work another day in your life.”, that is not the reality for most people. Until you find a job that you love, try finding things to love about your job. Stop whining, complaining and making excuses and look for the good in the job, the pay, the benefits, the people you work with or the people you serve. Look for how you can contribute to the organization or to some part of the world through what you do. The job exists for a reason. You provide some type of service or benefit to someone. What is that? Find a way to contribute and make a difference in the organization. If you cannot do that, go back and decide on option #2 or #3.
You cannot change your boss. If your boss is an ass, that sucks. Find a way to Embrace the Suck. Start by reading The No Asshole Rule by Robert Sutton PhD. Then read his follow-up book The Asshole Survival Guide. Take time to reflect on what you love about your job and your work. Choose not to let the boss take that from you. Instead of battling your boss, try asking what you can do to help him or her. Let them know that you understand he or she is under a lot of pressure and has a lot of demands that you are likely unaware of and ask what you can do to help them and better serve them. If you cannot do that, go back and decide on option #2 or #3.
It is tough working with energy vampires, dream stealers and whining, snivelling malcontents. It can suck the life out of you, if you let it. Start by stepping back and asking:
· What piece of this do I own?
· How am I contributing to the negativity in the workplace?
· Am I someone whose attitude others complain about?
Go on the offensive and work to change the culture. Start to talk about what’s right with the workplace and the world instead of what’s wrong. Start looking for the good in others and acknowledge what they do well. Praise others for effort and process, not outcome. Focus on shifting from being a problem identifier to becoming a problem solver. Find one other positive person and start going for coffee or lunch with them. Then recruit a 3rd for your coffee / lunch group and build from there. Go for a walk on your breaks or go find a quiet place to read a good book. If you cannot do that, go back and decide on option #2 or #3.
Supervising toxic employees is not easy. Make sure they are clear on the performance expectations. Make sure they understand the Mission, Vision and Values of the organization and how those apply to everyone in your work area. Make sure they have the tools, training and resources they need to succeed. Focus on the issues, behaviours and performance and not the person. This is not personal. Document. Make sure they understand the impact their behaviour is having on the workplace. Remember:
· Ignored behaviour is condoned behaviour.
· It not what you preach, it is what you tolerate.
If you ignore, condone and tolerate inappropriate behaviour you only complicate your problems. Be prepared for them to lash out and respond with a personal attack on your character and leadership abilities. When they do, take a breath and a realize this is not about you. It is about them and their insecurities. They likely got their way as a child, and as an adult by throwing a tantrum. Be calm, be professional, be firm and focus on What’s Important Now. If you cannot do that, go back and decide on option #2 or #3.
Life is not fair. You are going to run into the suck factor on a regular basis.
What’s Important Now? Realize you have choices. Find a way to Embrace the Suck, Look for the Good and Dare to Be Great, which may include choosing option #2.
Maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question - What's Important Now?
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