Is your business like a board game?

sorry-game-canva-purchased.pngSince owning my business for 6 years, and having worked with hundreds of business owners during that time, I’ve learned quite a bit.

Remember the game Sorry?  Your plan is to move ahead with an end goal in mind, but things happen.  Someone steps on you and pushes you out of the way (that’s just a few steps back, no big deal).  But then someone else comes along and crushes your dreams and sends you right back to where you started.  It sucks!  But, it’s also just like business.

What do you do when faced with these obstacles?  Do you fall apart and quit?  Or do you plan new goals and keep moving forward?

I actually love the game Sorry.  I do have to admit that being sent back to HOME does crush me just a little bit, but I end up taking a new route the next time I venture out.  And just sometimes, it’s a better path with more exciting twists and turns.  And sometimes I move past the ones who stepped on me the first time and win after-all.  Yes, it’s a game, but I can see the correlation between it and my business.Path - Canva - Free

Right now, I’m working on some new ideas and new goals for the 2nd half of 2018.  Do you have fresh goals in mind?  Are you taking a new adventure because of unforeseen paths?  If so, then keep your head up high and know that sometimes the roads you can’t predict end up taking you to the most amazing places!

 

Here’s to a fantastic rest of the year!  Keep moving forward!!!

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Elizabeth Debol
Executive Virtual Assistant
elizabeth.debol@smallbvs.com
www.SmallBVS.com

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Inspiration for Business Owners

I work from a remote office, so I need to take breaks often.  I love getting outside, so I typically go for a daily walk.  I used to listen to music and just clear my head (which helps me work more efficiently for the rest of the day).  But, I recently decided to listen to TED talks instead.  I love them!  I’m sure I look crazy laughing while walking down the street, but some of the speakers are really funny!

They not only give me some great inspiration, but they make me feel like I can accomplish anything.  They offer amazing advice that can be used immediately in your daily life.  They point you in the right direction.  They make me feel inspired and motivated.  And I wanted to share some of them with you.

Here are 7 different TED talks for business owners.  They are short enough to listen to during your work breaks or lunch hour, or even in the car to and from work.  I even listen to them while I work.  I promise you’ll love them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elizabeth Debol
Executive Virtual Assistant
elizabeth.debol@smallbvs.com
www.SmallBVS.com

#TedTalks #Inspiration #Motivation #BusinessOwner #Success

What makes you GREAT?

OK.  So, I’m sitting here wondering what I want to post about this week.  And due to a not-so-fun, frustrating, attacking experience over the weekend, I decided to focus on what I do that’s GREAT.

Attitude - Canva

Photo Credit:  Canva

I’m a very motivated person.  I have an entrepreneurial drive.  I like to get things done, and if I don’t know how to do something, I’ll figure it out.  I don’t like to procrastinate (although it does happen sometimes).  I don’t like broken promises.  I like schedules.  I like lists.  I like organization.  I don’t like people who nag or complain about the little things.  I love music, walking outside, working in the yard, playing with my kids, cuddling with my dogs, and so much more!  Life is good!

Why am I telling you this?  Because we all have something great within us that NOBODY gets.  I think mine is planning.  In my head, I have to plan just about everything.  I plan my day from the moment I get up to the moment I go to bed.  But, I leave enough time each day for me to do something different than the day before (if I want to).  This probably doesn’t make sense to anyone but myself, but it’s true.  I have amazing executive functioning skills.  I love the feeling of accomplishment.  And being a Virtual Assistant helps me build on these skills, gives me the opportunity to use these skills, and makes me feel like what I do really does matter.

What makes YOU great?  We all have things we are terrible at.  For me, it’s cooking.  We all have things we enjoy and really love.   For me, it’s planning and executing.  I am constantly reading, learning new ways to help my clients.  I am consistently networking to find professionals to collaborate with.  I am inspired by new adventures and can’t wait for the next one to knock on my door (or email me).  🙂

If you are GREAT at something, follow it through.  Walk down your path with pride and enjoy your time doing it.  That is one reason I started my business.  I enjoy helping others walk down their path.  And I get to walk down mine at the same time.  What I’m able to accomplish might not be what others’ want to do.  And I’m fine with that.  But respect that I love what I do.  And I’ll respect that you love what you do.  Understand we are all great at something.  If we were all good at the same things, this world would be a VERY boring place to live.

If you recognize that your GREATNESS is NOT organizing, planning, or executing, then contact me.  I want you to do what you’re the best at, and leave those other tasks to me.  Help me feed my GREATNESS while I help you live out yours.

This year has been amazing so far, but I’m starting to find some real niche professionals I want to continue working with:  Business Coaches (event planning) and Realtors (blogging).  I’m also working on a new path…marketing for educational centers.

Like I said, I am always looking for new adventures, and it keeps my life busy but fulfilled.  I wish you great things on your journey, and if you need any help, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

Elizabeth Debol
Executive Virtual Assistant
elizabeth.debol@smallbvs.com
www.SmallBVS.com

Why are some people so negative all the time?

Okay, so I just have to start February off by saying one thing – “Stop Being So Negative!!!”

I have the kind of personality where I am 99% positive all the time (the other 1% is me complaining about Michigan weather).  I feel like negativity just brings people down and makes a bad situation worse.  There are not a whole lot of positive people in this world, and it’s really frustrating.  Sometimes I feel like I’m in a world all my own.  Is anyone out here with me???

Here’s the thing… I am a busy entrepreneur, mom, wife, daughter, sister, and friend.  I juggle my own business, my teenage boys, my widowed mother, a house, normal human responsibilities, and I find time to exercise, read, and learn new things.  BUT…I know some people who think I’m crazy.  Why?  Because I like to better myself?  Because I want to be successful?  Because I want to make some kind of change in the world, even if it is small?

Am I perfect?  Hell no!  I just don’t believe in people sitting around waiting for good things to happen to them.  You have to go out and make it happen, people!  You have to work hard, put your time in, put some effort into your passions, create a life you want by doing what you want, and hopefully, good things will happen!

Since my audience is entrepreneurs, I wanted to share this with you!  I want to tell you that you have to go after what you want.  You have to push hard and learn new things and put yourself out there.  One of my fears is talking face-to-face with people (which is why I love being a Virtual Assistant).  I get severe anxiety over meeting new people.  But, when I’m behind my desk I don’t mind having phone calls with new people.  And I must be good at it because 90% of new calls turn into new clients.

My point here:  I stay positive and push through.  I remain professional and contain my anxiety and move forward.  I hope to have my own physical building one day.  I also want to have other professionals around me, where we’re all working together to make a difference in our community, doing what we love.  That’s my goal within the next couple years.  How do I plan to get there?  By continuing to build my business and by staying positive!!!

Can you share your positive stories, your successes, or your dreams in the comments below?  I’d love to hear how you’ve built your business and reached your goals!!!  And I bet you stayed positive the whole way!!!

Elizabeth Debol
Executive Virtual Assistant
elizabeth.debol@smallbvs.com
www.SmallBVS.com

10 Things That Require Zero Talent (Guest Post)

I cannot take credit for this list or title. Unfortunately, I don’t know whom to credit. I have seen this posted on LinkedIn time and time again as a picture of a whiteboard with these 10 items listed. I really love this list and thought it might be helpful to go into each item in a little more detail.

So yes, it is true, this list does not require talent, but it does require effort and, in some cases, learning new skills. The great thing about a new skill is that it can be learned. I feel extremely confident that anyone who is interested in leveraging these important qualities can definitely do so.

So, let’s discuss some strategies on how you can implement these into your personal toolbox and into your personal brand, that is, how others see you both personally and professionally. In the words of Aristotle, “We are what we do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.” Let’s explore these worthwhile new habits together.

 

1. Being on Time

“Arriving late is a way of saying that your own time is more valuable than the time of the person who waited for you.” – Karen Joy Fowler

In corporate American culture, being on time is essential. Being on time is really being 10 minutes early. If you are called in for an interview, make sure you are 10 minutes early; don’t slide in the door right on the dot. You will be perceived as late.

Once you have the job, find out the company culture and your boss’ expectations. Technical companies seem to have more flexible schedules. As long as you get the work done, you can show up when you want and leave when you want. I would say that companies with this level of flexibility are in the minority right now. For the most part, it is safe to say that you should be on time. Depending on the work you do, you may be able to arrive right on the button or, if you are taking someone’s place, you probably want to arrive a minimum of 5 minutes early, depending on the responsibilities that need to be handed over.

If you are new to your job, make sure you ask your direct supervisor about being on time and what to do if you happen to be late. Is there a 15 minute grace period where you don’t have to alert your supervisor or the front desk that you will be late? Is there a limited number of late days you can take? If you are running late, how does your supervisor want you to communicate this? Text? Email? Phone call? Make sure you understand the procedures.

How can you make sure you are usually on time? One, take an inventory of how long you need to get ready in the morning. Do you usually workout? Shower? Pack your lunch? Try running through your schedule on a day that you don’t have to be on time, a weekend for example, and note how long each task takes you. This will give you a good idea of how much time you need in the morning. How about your drive? Parking? Walking from the parking lot to the building? Do you “need”* to grab a coffee before you get to work? (I know that “need” is a strong word but I am right there with you. First, coffee.) How long does that take?

Now you have a good idea of how much time you need to get ready, get to work and be seated in your designated place. Aim to leave at least 20 minutes before you actually need to leave just to give yourself some wiggle room.

Being on time is a skill which will typically serve you very well as you move forward in your career and personal life, if you live in the United States. I am adding that clarification because different cultures have different concepts of time. If you are working for an international company, the concept of time may be different than “typical” corporate American culture. Again, speak with your supervisor, so you understand the expectations of your company.

2. Work Ethic

“Don’t be upset with the results you didn’t get from the work you didn’t do.” -Unknown

Taking credit for others’ ideas, not taking responsibility for your mistakes, inappropriate delegating — these are all ways to alienate people in the office and your personal life. You may think that you are fooling some people, and you probably are, at least for a little while, but the façade will not last. The truth really does come out. You might think you are getting away with it because no one confronts you, or maybe you are confronted but come up with a slick story that seems to cover your tracks. Again, it might work once or twice, maybe even more but people are observant. There are some people who are “on” to you long before you will realize it. It might not be your boss, you may have him/her fooled, but if your colleagues see this behavior consistently, you will eventually be edged out of the group. People won’t want to work with you because they know you will take credit and not do the work.

If you find that you are avoiding work, do some self-reflection.

  • Do you not like the work?
  • Does the work seem pointless or meaningless to you?
  • Do you feel drained, when you think about the work you are required to do?
  • Is it boring? Tedious?
  • Do you feel ill-prepared or overwhelmed by the quantity of work?
  • Are you missing essential resources needed in order to do your job successfully?
  • Do you need more education? More training?

If it is the last, have an honest conversation with your direct supervisor. Research some places that offer relevant continuing education. Most supervisors want you to succeed. It’s not easy to admit that you don’t know how to do something. It is very vulnerable, but you will see that addressing this issue also will cover some of the other items on this list, such as effort, attitude, passion, being coachable, doing extra, and being prepared. Nice, right?

3. Effort

“Continuous effort, not strength or intelligence, is the key to unlocking our potential.” – Winston Churchill

According to research, it takes about 10,000 hours to be an expert in any field. This is clearly the opposite of instant results. It’s the plodding along, even when you feel like giving up. It is the middle of the marathon, where you can’t see the finish line. It is a long, long road.

So, that wasn’t every cheerful, was it? Well, let me make it up to you. Here are some encouraging words for you, as you head down the path. Pick something that you love, that is interesting, and that you believe in. This doesn’t make the road shorter, but it does make it more fun and interesting and will get you through the long stretches where it feels like you are not making any progress or even going backward. As long as you are doing the right thing, you are making progress and moving forward, even if it doesn’t feel like it. Don’t give up.

4. Body Language

“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.” – Peter Drucker

Do you walk into the office hunched over, walking slowly with a sad look on your face? Do you roll your eyes during meetings? Give a sideways glance to your friend when someone says something you don’t agree with? See what happens when you make an effort to be friendly to others. See what happens when you do smile. Nod your head in agreement during conversations, take notes during meetings and make friendly eye contact. Not only will you benefit from being positive, people around you will benefit as well.

5. Energy

“Exhaustion makes wimps out of all of us.” – James Loehr

Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post tells a story about the crazy number of hours she worked as she was establishing her publication. One day she was so completely exhausted that she fell, literally, asleep on her desk and woke up in a pool of her own blood. This didn’t line up with her definition of success. She is now a sleep advocate and would probably appreciate this quote, “Your future depends on your dreams. So go to sleep.” – Masoud Barzani

Sleep is incredibly important. Our cells recharge. Our brain synapsis connect. Getting enough sleep is vital. People vary on the amount of sleep they need, but it typically ranges from 6-10 hours. Eight hours is the most quoted amount we are encouraged to get each night. Find out how much you need. It may vary slightly depending on the day.

So, let’s imagine that you are well rested. How do you feel during the work day? Do mostly feel energized by the tasks ahead? Do you feel drained by most of the tasks ahead of you? If it is the latter, you may want to think about the tasks that you find interesting and energizing compared to the ones that you find draining. If you are unsure, you may be interested in learning more about taking a career assessment.

6. Attitude

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Many of my clients come to me and say that they don’t care what kind of job they get, they just want a job. It’s not true, and they will readily admit that to me after I suggest some jobs that they find distasteful. Knowing yourself is vital.

At different points in your life, you may have different priorities. In your 20’s you may not mind working 90 hours/week to establish yourself. As you move into your 30’s, you may value a more flexible schedule that will allow you to spend time with your children. In your 40’s you may be looking for meaning in your life. As you approach your 50-60’s, you may be thinking about your legacy, that is, what are you leaving behind? How will you be remembered? Regardless of your life stage, a positive attitude will take you further than you can imagine.

You may be the smartest and most efficient person in the company, but if you are difficult to work with, people start to isolate you. Quite politely in many cases. You will notice that whenever you need help, everyone is too busy. Most people prefer to keep the peace rather than have a direct conversation with someone who may not be open to feedback. Be pleasant. If you can’t find a reason to be pleasant, try to figure out the underlying cause. See a counselor to get some outside perspective, help and additional skills to cope with the stresses of your life.

Time and time again, I hear from employers that they can coach a new employee on technical skills but not on how to get along with others. We all make mistakes. No one is perfect, but having a willing attitude will make a world of difference. People are watching. Your colleagues may change jobs and, if you are smart, which I know you are, your pleasant disposition will have them keep you in mind when there is an opening at their new place of employment.

We spend so much time at work. No one wants to work with someone who is unhappy and unwilling to do his or her fair share. Be the person others want to work with. You never know how this shift in perspective and attitude will help you and what new paths it will lead you down.

7. Passion

“Working hard for something you don’t care about is called stress. Working hard for something you love is called passion.” – Simon Sinek

Don’t you love this quote? I should point out that you can be stressed when you are doing what you love too. However, it is a different kind of stress. An energizing stress more than anything, because you care so much.

Make your life easier. Figure out what you love. What makes your heart sing? What is something you could do all day and not get tired? What do you like reading? What movies are you drawn to? How are these all connected?

Life is short. Don’t just clock in and out. You owe it to yourself to figure out what you love.

8. Being Coachable

“Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” – Ken Blanchard

We are all doing the best that we can, so hearing negative feedback can be, at times, quite painful, especially if it hits one of our triggers, which is an experience that we haven’t healed from our past. It can also hurt if the tone is harsh or if the feedback is given publicly. These are all things to consider if you find yourself in a position where you need to give someone negative feedback too.

So, how do you accept feedback graciously?

1. Know that it may not be easy for the person who is giving you the feedback. Many people do not like confrontation, and this is very uncomfortable for many.

2. If you have asked for feedback, do not defend yourself. Listen to the other person. Reframe their feedback to make sure you understand what they are saying. Ask clarifying questions, if you are unclear.

3. Be sure to thank the person who is providing the feedback. Once we are grown-ups, we are not usually in relationships where people give us regular feedback.

Growing up, our moms tell us, “Stand up straight,“ “Don’t talk with your mouth full,” “Elbows off the table.” Now…not so much. Maybe you just don’t get the job, because the employer is afraid that you are uncoachable. When you applied for the job and followed-up with the employer, did you find yourself arguing about their job requirements?  If this is your attitude before you get the job, how about afterward? This is not to say that you can’t state your opinion or be true to yourself but know the right time and place. Arguing before you get the job is not a great idea. Once you have the job, you will understand the group dynamics and hopefully form a collaborative relationship with your boss and, together, conquer the world.

If you are a career changer or someone with a lot of experience, you bring a lot of value to the workplace and, most likely, a strong opinion of how things should be done. You too will want to vet the work culture to see if they are open to suggestions if this is important to you. If you accept the job, you may need to prepare yourself for different processes. Stay open. Who knows? You may prefer this way more than the way you’ve been doing things.

9. Doing Extra

“There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.” – Roger Staubach

The best employees go above and beyond the call of duty. A quick note of caution: make sure that the extra work you are doing is not stepping on anyone else’s toes. If you are doing something outside of your job description, be sure to run your idea by your manager and ask for feedback.

Most managers appreciate employees who see problems, have solutions, and actually work to implement the solutions.

10. Being Prepared

 “Expect the best, plan for the worst and prepare to be surprised.” – Denis Waitley

I am always surprised at how many people don’t bring a notebook and pen to a meeting. This is the day and age of information overload, yet people don’t write things down. Bring a pen and paper wherever you go. I meet with clients for an hour, sometimes longer. When I am really enthused, I talk fast. The ideas fly. I always wonder how my clients will remember all the websites and resources I mention. Write things down. There are actually studies which link memory and writing things down. Writing it down helps you remember.

You may notice that your energy is spent worrying. You may be worried about all the things you have to remember to do. Write them down. You may notice that, even if you don’t consciously check the task off your to-do list, it will get done. Look back at your notes and see how many items were on your list and are now complete.

It may be helpful to have a “catch-all” notebook. Put all your thoughts in the notebook and then redistribute them appropriately. For example, maybe you note your expenses in your catch-all journal and then transfer them to your budget notebook, where they will be easier to find.  Review your notes before relevant meetings.

If you are going to a meeting, make a list of the tasks you need to complete before the meeting. Make a list of items you need to bring to the meeting. Review past notes, if relevant, and, of course, make sure you are on time.

Final Thoughts

“To change your life, change your habits.” – Unknown

I think that you will agree, with some effort, all of these qualities can be learned and implemented into your routine. Why not take one at a time and keep adding on until they all come naturally to you?

 

About Helen Godfrey

As a counselor, I strive to help people make new discoveries about themselves and what helps them overcome the obstacles they face. My patients trust me to guide them on their journey to achieve the goals they set for themselves. As someone who understands the transformative power of therapy, I’m passionate about learning, listening, and partnering with my clients to bring balance and wellness into their lives.  I enjoy working with people from all walks of life, and if you or someone you love is going through a difficult time of career or personal uncertainty or needs to discuss their concerns with a professional, please contact me to setup a consultation.

GET IN TOUCH
Call for a free consultation!

Helen Godfrey, MA, NCC, BCC, LPC
832-412-3218
helenkgodfrey@yahoo.com
Rice Village
Houston, TX 77005
www.careercounselortips.com

Five Ways to Kick Stress in the Rear! (Guest Post)

Stress. We all have it. We all get it and if you are anything like me, you would like for it to just go away! Unfortunately, stress is something that blocks us from living a healthy, purpose-filled life and often stops us dead in our tracks. Have you had that experience?

As I Googled stress one day, I found basic consensus that the top five stressors include:

  • A sick family member
  • Your health
  • Finances
  • Relationships
  • Career/Business

There was a point in my life, when all 5 of those hit at the same time. No wonder I was having trouble just getting out of bed and dragging myself to the shower each morning and barely having the energy to get to work. I did learn although I couldn’t control some of those things, there were some ways to relieve some of my stress to improve my mental, physical, emotional, and relational life. So here are five things that I have learned to do to release some of the overwhelming stress in my life. I know I cannot rid myself of all stress, however, I find that releasing some of it is like a pressure cooker releasing some steam – I am able to get up, hop in the shower and get to work… and for me, that is success!

  1. Learn to say NO! Look at your schedule and commitments and start to de-commit, cancel or postpone those things you really do not need to do. Remember, when you way “yes” to something, you are saying “no” to something else. Make your “yes” be something that will not add more stress to your life. If you can, trade it for something you can gladly say “no” to. For me, I said “no” to being on a committee at my church that was non-productive the previous year and said “yes,” to a business networking event where I could meet others, grow as a leader and share about our businesses.
  2. Share the load. It is true that no one is able to do things just like you. But once you give up the need to control some areas that are causing stress and begin to delegate, your load will be lighter. My husband agreed to take my mom, who couldn’t drive anymore, to the store every other week for me. You cannot imagine how that one change relieved a lot of stress in my life! All I had to do was ask for help!
  3. Let it go. Often the circumstances causing stress consumes our thinking. Train yourself NOT to focus on the stressor. How? Find a way to let it go. For me, I have several ways to do this. I will write the stressor on a rock and toss it in the lake.  Sometimes I will write something down and put it in the shredder. At night, I’ve trained myself to write the stressor on an imaginary white board and then, in my mind, I keep erasing it until I can move forward. If you are a person of faith, surrender it to God.
  4. Hit the delete key. When your head is spinning and will not turn off thoughts say “not helpful” as many times as needed. Or imagine your thoughts being typed on your computer screen and then visualize yourself hitting the delete key. Then focus your thoughts on something or someone you love.
  5. Know what you can and cannot control. Take a pen and piece of paper and draw two lines to make three columns. Label the columns: Stressor, Can Control, Cannot Control. In the first column, list those things that are causing you stress. In the second column, if you have control or can do something to relieve the stressor, write it down with some action steps. In the third column, list the things that are out of your control. If you cannot control a stressor mark through it and get it off the list. It’s not worth your time or energy to focus there.

Coach Cindy Tannehill

Coach Cindy Tannehill is a John Maxwell Team Coach, Trainer & Speaker, Professional Certified Life Coach and the co-founder of Pass It On Purpose Coaching & Training Center in Kansas. She works with leaders and executives in businesses, NGOs, and faith based organizations around the world. She also has a heart for women entrepreneurs and has co-written an online course, Raise the Bar Academy – The Crash Course to help women entrepreneurs be successful in business and life.

www.johnmaxwellgroup.com/cindytannehill www.raisethebaracademy.com

Contact: cindytannehill@johnmaxwellgroup.com or cindy@raisethebaracademy.com

Conflict in the Workplace (Guest Post)

Conflict Resolution
Dealing with a Toxic Workplace
By Helen Godfrey, MA, NCC, BCC, LPC
www.careercounselortips.com

stormy-day

One of my former supervisors said, “We don’t leave jobs, we leave people.” Think about that. Is this true for you? Think back to the last job you left or outgrew. What led up to you looking for another job? Were you not feeling appreciated? Were you unable to be yourself? Did you have an outright, unresolvable conflict with someone? Studies have shown that employees will stay at jobs that pay less if they have a good manager.What can you do when you find yourself in a toxic workplace? I went to a seminar and one of the presenters said something along the lines of: You can try to carpet the world or just put on a pair of slippers. In other words, you can only change yourself. It can be annoying to think about that because, hey, you are already pretty awesome. Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone just did it your way? Your way is better-you know it is…how long will it take for others to get on board? Don’t shoot the messenger but….maybe never. Life amongst the mortals, darling. No one said it would be easy. So, now what?Evaluate and Prioritize

What are your priorities? Are you feeling impatient because you are not advancing as quickly as you hoped? Try to take a step back and evaluate your current career path. Are you still learning? If not, you may want to talk to your manager about taking on some new/different responsibilities to expand your skill set. Typically, experts say that it takes about 10 years to become an expert in your field. Have you been doing your job for 10 years? Not necessarily in the same place but the same type of job function. If not, depending on the level of expertise needed for this profession…you probably have room for growth. Try to get this in your current location if you like your job. If you want to stay at your job but are not getting the additional skills there, you may want to consider volunteering. Not only will you presumably put some good karma in your bucket-full disclosure: individual karmic results may vary-you can learn, contribute and expand your network which may help you if you decide to move to a different company.

Evaluate Your Company Culture

The culture of any organization is shaped by the worst behavior the leader is willing to tolerate.

-Gruenter & Whitaker

Is this workplace toxic or just annoying? If you feel unsafe to speak up, to be yourself or to make mistakes, these could be indicators that you are working in a less than healthy environment. If your educational background and contributions are belittled by your direct supervisor, you may want to look elsewhere immediately…if not sooner.

I have a friend who was a manager and, with his permission, is allowing me to share his story. He had a very difficult employee who refused to do almost anything that resembled work and he absolutely found the most amazing, Houdini-like ways to get out of work that he agreed he would do but that he did not want to do-which was pretty much everything. To give you some context, the manager would send the employee Outlook invitations for different events that he needed the employee to cover. These were during regular business hours and par for the job. The employee would accept the invitations and then delete them from his calendar. When he didn’t show up to the events that he was scheduled to attend he told his manager, “The audience could have come back in a few hours” or “I didn’t know about the event.” The manager had to start taking screen shots of his employee’s calendar to have proof.

When the manager went to his direct supervisor, the director, with proof of these shenanigans-too many to describe in this article- much to his surprise, she blamed him.  Hmm. In fact, she said the issue was his managerial style. Any small complaint from the difficult employee was taken very seriously by the director. In fact, she encouraged the difficult employee to keep going directly to her-not keeping his manager in the loop about their conversations. Do you remember the movie Office Space?  More specifically, the scene with HR where one employee describes his contributions to the company: he gives them examples of going above and beyond the call of duty, working overtime and so on. Well, he is fired. The second employee who goes into great detail about slacking off at work is promoted. It’s funny when it is a movie but in real life…not so much.

So, if you have a manager who undermines your authority and you are honestly doing everything right and to the best of your ability, you will probably need to look for a new job pronto. In fact, I would recommend looking immediately especially if you know that you have done everything in your power to work out the difficult situation you are facing. It is highly unlikely that your manager or employee, especially if he/she has the support of your manager, will change.

What are Your Deal Breakers?

Again, observe the behavior. What are your deal breakers? What are your values? If you are a manager ask yourself: Is your employee’s behavior acceptable? Are these growing pains? Is there a way we can communicate more clearly? Is the employee coachable? Do I have my direct supervisor’s support? If you answered “no” to these questions, seriously consider your choices. If your direct supervisor undermines your authority, is there another layer of support that is accessible to you? For example, some HR departments offer mediation for employees and managers. If you have exhausted all of your possibilities, your best choice may be to find another job.

Something else to consider is the amount of physical stress a toxic workplace can have on the body. According to www.AllHeartAttack.com, the most number of heart attacks happen on Monday mornings: http://tiny.cc/q34ydy You have choices and you don’t have to stay in a toxic workplace.

Go Where You are Loved

The Oscar award winning actress Ms. Lupita Nyong’o was interviewed in the September 2016 issue of Oprah magazine. She was asked about the best advice she’s received and she said, “Go where you are loved. People who see the best in you bring out the best in you.” These are wise words and I couldn’t agree more.

If you are working in an environment where you are not supported or appreciated, it may be better to look elsewhere. Of course, be self-reflective and ask yourself:

  • What can I do to improve my situation?
  • How am I contributing to the problem?
  • How am I contributing to the solution?
  • Do I need some additional training?
  • Is there anything I could be doing better?
  • What is my ROI on this situation? Will I learn and grow?

If you have done your best to improve your situation and nothing is working, take Ms. Lupita Nyong’o’s advice: Go where you are loved. You will be so much happier for it and so will everyone around you.

Resources for Dealing with Conflict

Resolving Conflicts at Work: Ten Strategies for Everyone on the Job by Kenneth Cole and Joan Goldsmith

This is a great book with a lot of useful dialogues which will teach you some basic conflict resolution skills.

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Perfect Phrases for…..

This is a series of books that you can find on Amazon with helpful phrases for difficult situations.

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About Helen Godfrey

As a counselor, I strive to help people make new discoveries about themselves and what helps them overcome the obstacles they face. My patients trust me to guide them on their journey to achieve the goals they set for themselves. As someone who understands the transformative power of therapy, I’m passionate about learning, listening, and partnering with my clients to bring balance and wellness into their lives.  I enjoy working with people from all walks of life, and if you or someone you love is going through a difficult time of career or personal uncertainty or needs to discuss their concerns with a professional, please contact me to setup a consultation.