Four Ways to Build Influence at Work, No Matter Your Job Title

people around a table, brainstorming

Being influential has its benefits. People seek out your opinion and listen to you. Your words have power. Those around you believe what you say and give weight to your input. But you don’t have to be a member of the C-suite or a high-ranking employee for this to be true. It’s possible to expand your influence in virtually any role.

“Inside the workplace, there’s formal influence, which comes from your position—the responsibility and authority that you’ve been given,” says leadership consultant Ron Price, founder of Price Associates, and author of Growing Influence: A Story of How to Lead with Character, Expertise, and Impact. “But there’s also informal influence, which comes from who you are and how you show up.”

While the title you hold may not be imbued with power, there are steps you can take to increase the power you hold in virtually any role, he says. Here are four strategies to try:


Focus On What You Can Control

Influence starts with the areas within your control, says Melissa Drake, founder of Collaborative AF, a consultancy that helps companies unlock potential through collaboration. First off, focus simply on being good at your job.

“If you’re doing your thing well and passionately and you’re getting good results, it’s really hard to argue with that,” she says. Being good at your job is one of the basic elements of influence. It lets people know that you’re confident and capable. Failure to do so undermines influence and makes it more difficult for people to trust you.

At consulting and training company Franklin Covey, Scott Miller, executive vice president and author of Management Mess to Leadership Success: 30 Challenges to Become the Leader You Would Follow, recommends focusing on your “circle of influence“—those factors you can control, including “your reputation; your ability to deliver on your promises; your ability to make wise, high-impact decisions; your ability to collaborate.” The more you focus on those essential elements, the more your influence will naturally grow.


Spend Your ‘Influence Currency’ Wisely

Understanding the areas in which you may most likely be influential is important, too. If you have special expertise or act as a facilitator or gatekeeper, the way you share and distribute knowledge or resources can make you influential, says Allan Cohen, global leadership professor at Babson College and co-author of Influence without Authority. The core of your influence may also lie in how well you understand the organization, relationships within the workplace, or other areas that aren’t generally known.

But there’s a fine line between being a fair guardian of that influence and blowing your own horn too much, he says. Cohen says you must figure out how to provide that value in a reasonable way. “It’s a fine art to be able to contribute without disappearing, but without saying, ‘See me? See me? Look. Look. Here I am. Look what I’m doing for you,’” he says.


Make Strong Connections With Others

“Everything comes down to relationships,” Drake says, so building a strong network is essential. She recommends getting to know people on a personal level, too. It’s easier to relate to and understand others when you have an idea of what’s important to them, what their personality traits are, and what’s going on in their lives. “[Allow] people to be seen and heard as individuals and who they are,” says Drake, who gave a TEDx talk on collaboration in which she emphasized how much more powerful successful collaborations can be compared to solo efforts. “Then it makes it easier to come together,” she says.

The ability to collaborate with others also helps build your influence because it strengthens relationships. “There’s the kind of influence that you build through collaboration, where you work with people, where you have shared interests, says Price. “You can combine your influence together to create something bigger than you could have done by yourself.”


Don’t Be a Jerk

Even if you don’t have a big title or wield a great deal of power, there is always a way you can help others, Price says. So find ways to give back to individuals and the organization before you try to use your influence for your own interests. “Who comes to you to get information or something that they need in order to do their daily work?” he says. “The more that you respond to that in a timely way and give them what they’re looking for, the better, stronger influence you’ll build with them.”

By building your expertise and relationships, and using your growing power wisely and fairly, your words and actions will likely have greater impact in the workplace. But, as your influence grows, so must your humility, Miller says. “The more you readily show vulnerability and admit your issues, [the more] people will gravitate around you and you’ll create a culture where people take risks. They’ll make bets. They’ll choose to stay because there’s no paranoia. There’s high trust,” he says.

By: Gwen Moran

Source: Pocket

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Critics:

Social influence comprises the ways in which individuals change their behavior to meet the demands of a social environment. It takes many forms and can be seen in conformity, socialization, peer pressure, obedience, leadership, persuasion, sales, and marketing. Typically social influence results from a specific action, command, or request, but people also alter their attitudes and behaviors in response to what they perceive others might do or think. In 1958, Harvard psychologist Herbert Kelman identified three broad varieties of social influence.

  1. Compliance is when people appear to agree with others but actually keep their dissenting opinions private.
  2. Identification is when people are influenced by someone who is liked and respected, such as a famous celebrity.
  3. Internalization is when people accept a belief or behavior and agree both publicly and privately.

Morton Deutsch and Harold Gerard described two psychological needs that lead humans to conform to the expectations of others. These include our need to be right (informational social influence) and our need to be liked (normative social influence). Informational influence (or social proof) is an influence to accept information from another as evidence about reality. Informational influence comes into play when people are uncertain, either because stimuli are intrinsically ambiguous or because there is social disagreement.

Normative influence is an influence to conform to the positive expectations of others. In terms of Kelman’s typology, normative influence leads to public compliance, whereas informational influence leads to private acceptance.

Robert Cialdini defines six “weapons of influence” that can contribute to an individual’s propensity to be influenced by a persuader:

  • Reciprocity: People tend to return a favor.
  • Commitment and consistency: People do not like to be self-contradictory. Once they commit to an idea or behavior, they are averse to changing their minds without good reason.
  • Social proof: People will be more open to things that they see others doing. For example, seeing others compost their organic waste after finishing a meal may influence the subject to do so as well.
  • Authority: People will tend to obey authority figures.
  • Liking: People are more easily swayed by people they like.
  • Scarcity: A perceived limitation of resources will generate demand.

See also

The Pandemic Revealed How Much We Hate Our Jobs

Until March 2020, Kari and Britt Altizer of Richmond, Va., put in long hours at work, she in life-insurance sales and he as a restaurant manager, to support their young family. Their lives were frenetic, their schedules controlled by their jobs.

Then the pandemic shutdown hit, and they, like millions of others, found their world upended. Britt was briefly furloughed. Kari, 31, had to quit to care for their infant son. A native of Peru, she hoped to find remote work as a Spanish translator. When that didn’t pan out, she took a part-time sales job with a cleaning service that allowed her to take her son to the office. But as the baby grew into a toddler, that wasn’t feasible either.

Meanwhile, the furlough prompted her husband, 30, to reassess his own career. “I did some soul searching. During the time I was home, I was gardening and really loving life,” says Britt, who grew up on a farm and studied environmental science in college. “I realized working outdoors was something I had to get back to doing.”

Today, both have quit their old jobs and made a sharp pivot: they opened a landscaping business together. “We are taking a leap of faith,” Kari says, after realizing the prepandemic way of working simply doesn’t make sense anymore. Now they have control over their schedules, and her mom has moved nearby to care for their son. “I love what I’m doing. I’m closer to my goal of: I get to go to work, I don’t have to go to work,” Kari says. “We aren’t supposed to live to work. We’re supposed to work to live.”

As the postpandemic great reopening unfolds, millions of others are also reassessing their relationship to their jobs. The modern office was created after World War II, on a military model—strict hierarchies, created by men for men, with an assumption that there is a wife to handle duties at home.

But after years of gradual change in Silicon Valley and elsewhere, there’s a growing realization that the model is broken. Millions of people have spent the past year re-evaluating their priorities. How much time do they want to spend in an office? Where do they want to live if they can work remotely? Do they want to switch careers? For many, this has become a moment to literally redefine what is work.

More fundamentally, the pandemic has masked a deep unhappiness that a startling number of Americans have with the -workplace. During the first stressful months of quarantine, job turnover plunged; people were just hoping to hang on to what they had, even if they hated their jobs.

For many more millions of essential workers, there was never a choice but to keep showing up at stores, on deliveries and in factories, often at great risk to themselves, with food and agricultural workers facing a higher chance of death on the job. But now millions of white collar professionals and office workers appear poised to jump. Anthony Klotz, an associate professor of management at Texas A&M University, set off a Twitter-storm by predicting, “The great resignation is coming.”

But those conversations miss a much more consequential point. The true significance isn’t what we are leaving; it’s what we are going toward. In a surprising phenomenon, people are not just abandoning jobs but switching professions. This is a radical re-assessment of our careers, a great reset in how we think about work. A Pew survey in January found that 66% of unemployed people have seriously considered changing occupations—and significantly, that phenomenon is common to those at every income level, not just the privileged high earners.

A third of those surveyed have started taking courses or job retraining. Pew doesn’t have comparable earlier data, but in a 2016 survey, about 80% of people reported being somewhat or very satisfied with their jobs.

Early on in the pandemic, Lucy Chang Evans, a 48-year-old Naperville, Ill., civil engineer, quit her job to help her three kids with remote learning while pursuing an online MBA. Becoming “a lot more introspective,” she realized she’s done with toxic workplaces: “I feel like I’m not willing to put up with abusive behavior at work anymore.” She also plans to pivot into a more meaningful career, focused on tackling climate change.

The deep unhappiness with jobs points to a larger problem in how workplaces are structured. The line between work and home has been blurring for decades—and with the pandemic, obliterated completely for many of us, as we have been literally living at work. Meanwhile, the stark divide between white collar workers and those with hourly on-site jobs—grocery clerks, bus drivers, delivery people—became painfully visible. During the pandemic, nearly half of all employees with advanced degrees were working remotely, while more than 90% of those with a high school diploma or less had to show up in person, CoStar found.

Business leaders are as confused as the rest of us—perhaps more so—when it comes to navigating the multiple demands and expectations of the new workplace. Consider their conflicting approaches to remote work. Tech firms including Twitter, Dropbox, Shopify and Reddit are all allowing employees the option to work at home permanently, while oil company Phillips 66 brought back most staff to its Houston headquarters almost a year ago. Target and Walmart have both allowed corporate staff to work remotely, while low-paid workers faced potential COVID-19 exposure on store floors.

In the financial industry, titans like Blackstone, JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs expect employees to be back on site this summer. JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon recently declared that remote work “doesn’t work for those who want to hustle-. It doesn’t work in terms of spontaneous idea generation,” and “you know, people don’t like commuting, but so what.”

There’s a real risk that office culture could devolve into a class system, with on-site employees favored over remote workers. WeWork CEO Sandeep Mathrani recently insisted that the “least engaged are very comfortable working from home,” a stunning indictment that discounts working parents everywhere and suggests that those who might need flexibility—like those caring for relatives—couldn’t possibly be ambitious.

Mathrani’s comments are yet another reminder that the pandemic shutdown has been devastating for women, throwing into high relief just how inhospitable and precarious the workplace can be for caretakers. Faced with the impossible task of handling the majority of childcare and homeschooling, 4.2 million women dropped out of the labor force from February 2020 to April 2020—and nearly 2 million still haven’t returned. Oxfam calculates that women globally lost a breathtaking $800 billion in income in 2020. Women’s progress in terms of U.S. workforce participation has been set back by more than three decades.

Despite Mathrani’s assertion, there’s little evidence that remote employees are less engaged. There is, however, plenty of evidence that we’re actually working more. A study by Harvard Business School found that people were working on average 48 minutes more per day after the lockdown started. A new research paper from the University of Chicago and University of Essex found remote workers upped their hours by 30%, yet didn’t increase productivity.

All this comes at a moment when business and culture have never been more intertwined. As work has taken over people’s lives and Americans are doing less together outside the office, more and more of people’s political beliefs and social life are defining the office. In thousands of Zoom meetings over the past year, employees have demanded that their leaders take on systemic racism, sexism, transgender rights, gun control and more.

People have increasingly outsize expectations of their employers. This year, business surpassed nonprofits to become the most trusted institution globally, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer, and people are looking to business to take an active role tackling racism, climate change and misinformation.

“Employees, customers, shareholders—all of these stakeholder groups—are saying, You’ve got to deal with some of these issues,” says Ken Chenault, a former chief executive of American Express and currently chairman and managing partner of General Catalyst. “If people are going to spend so much time at a company, they really want to believe that the mission and behavior of the company is consistent with, and aligned with, their values.”

Hundreds of top executives signed on to a statement that he and Ken Frazier, the CEO of Merck, organized this year opposing “any discriminatory legislation” in the wake of Georgia’s new voting law. Yet those same moves have landed some executives in the crosshairs of conservative politicians.

That points to the central dilemma facing us all as we rethink how we work. Multiple surveys suggest Americans are eager to work remotely at least part of the time—the ideal consensus seems to be coalescing around three days in the office and two days remote. Yet the hybrid model comes with its own complexities.

If managers with families and commutes choose to work remotely, but younger employees are on site, the latter could lack opportunities for absorbing corporate culture or for being mentored. Hybrid work could also limit those serendipitous office interactions that lead to promotions and breakthrough ideas.

Yet if it’s done correctly, there’s a chance to bring balance back into our lives, to a degree that we haven’t seen at least since the widespread adoption of email and cell phones. Not just parents but all employees would be better off with more flexible time to recharge, exercise and, oh yeah, sleep.

There’s also a hidden benefit in a year of sweatpants wearing and Zoom meetings: a more casual, more authentic version of our colleagues, with unwashed hair, pets, kids and laundry all on display. That too would help level the playing field, especially for professional women who, over the course of their careers, spend thousands of hours more than men just getting ready for work.

There are glimmers of progress. During the pandemic, as rates of depression and anxiety soared—to 40% of all U.S. adults, quadruple previous levels—a number of companies began offering enhanced mental-health services and paid “recharge” days, among them LinkedIn, Citigroup, Red Hat and SAP.

Some companies are offering subsidized childcare, including Microsoft, Facebook, Google and Home Depot. More than 200 businesses, along with the advocacy group Time’s Up, recently created a coalition to push for child and eldercare solutions. It’s essential that these measures stay in place.

We have an unprecedented opportunity right now to reinvent, to create workplace culture almost from scratch. Over the past decades, various types of businesses have rotated in and out of favor—conglomerates in the ’60s, junk bonds in the ’80s, tech in the ’00s—but the basic workplace structure, of office cubicles and face time, has remained the same.

It’s time to allow the creative ideas to flow. For example, companies are stuck with millions of square feet of now unused office space—sublet space soared by 40% from late 2019 to this year, CoStar found. Why not use that extra space for day care? Working parents of small children would jump at the opportunity to have a safe, affordable option, while having their kids close by.

Now would also be a good time to finally dump the 9-to-5, five-day workweek. For plenty of job categories, that cadence no longer makes sense. Multiple companies are already experimenting with four-day workweeks, including Unilever New Zealand, and Spain is rolling out a trial nationwide. Companies that have already tested the concept have reported significant productivity increases, from 20% (New Zealand’s Perpetual Guardian, which has since made the practice permanent) to 40% (Microsoft Japan, in a limited trial).

That schedule too would be more equitable for working moms, many of whom work supposedly part-time jobs with reduced pay yet are just as productive as their fully paid colleagues. Meanwhile, the 9-to-5 office-hours standard becomes irrelevant, especially when people don’t have meetings and are working remotely or in different time zones.

While we’re at it, let’s kill the commute. Some companies are already creating neighborhood co-working hubs for those who live far from the home office. Outdoor retailer REI is going a step further: it sold its new Bellevue, Wash., headquarters in a cost-cutting move and is now setting up satellite offices in the surrounding Puget Sound area. Restaurants might get in on the act too; they could convert dining areas into co-working spaces during off hours, or rent out private rooms by the day for meetings and brainstorming sessions.

Some of the shortcomings of remote work—the lack of camaraderie and mentoring, the fear of being forgotten—may ultimately be bridged by new technology. Google and Microsoft are already starting to integrate prominent remote-videoconferencing capabilities more fully into meeting spaces, so that remote workers don’t seem like an afterthought. Augmented reality, which so far has been used most notably for games like Pokémon Go, could end up transforming into a useful work tool, allowing remote workers to “seem” to be in the room with on-site workers.

There are plenty of other ideas out there, and a popular groundswell of support for flexibility and life balance that makes sense for all of us. Will we get there, or will we slide back into our old ways? That’s on us. Companies that don’t reinvent may well pay the price, losing top talent to businesses that do.

“We aren’t robots,” Kari Altizer says. “Before, we thought it was impossible to work with our children next to us. Now, we know it is possible—but we have to change the ways in which we work.”

By Joanne Lipman

Source: COVID-19 Changed Work Forever | Time

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References

4 Unexpected Items You Need In Your WFH Office So You’re Prepared For The Future Of Work

Man having video conferencing call via computer. Working remotely managing team and work from home

The home office was not invented during the era of ”The Brady Bunch” or “Mad Men.” In fact, it’s been around for three centuries. Hanna Manson tells us in an article in Hubble, “Following the collapse of the Roman Empire, dedicated office spaces would fall by the wayside until the 18th century.

Most ‘office’ work was carried out at home.” But that waned; architect David Hart of Steinburg Hart told a Bloomberg reporter that “Pre-Covid-19, only 10% to 15% percent of the apartment units his firm was building had some type of dedicated office space. Going forward, he says, he expects that figure will be more like 75%.” That’s because even if we don’t all continue to WFH full-time, WFH will likely be something we do at least part of the time.

In the 1990s, there used to be five basic necessities for a home office: your computer, a desk, a chair, a phone and maybe a printer/scanner. And that sufficed for the next twenty-five years. But it’s no longer enough as you seek to stay connected and make your mark while you’re WFH. Today’s home office requires some additional items so you can use those online meetings as a way to stand out and build your personal brand.

1. Green screen. This simple tool makes video meetings easier. That’s because you don’t need to worry about the clutter on the bookshelf behind you. And, you can customize your backdrop to make it relevant and interesting for every meeting you lead or attend. There are portable green screens that fold up and others that attach to the back of your chair, so don’t worry about it taking up space or creating even more clutter.

2. Mic. Your laptop mic comes with one major problem. It doesn’t discern between your voice and the other sounds in your office. That limits your ability to come across with a clear, crisp, confident message. It can also bring in unwanted interruptions like the dog barking in the next room or the fire engine passing outside your window. A small investment in earbuds or another directional mic will make sure people hear you without distraction.

3. Lights. You’re in luck if your home office is laid out so you’re facing a window when you’re sitting at your desk. That light coming directly at you will help you look your best on video. But it won’t help you on cloudy day or when you have an early evening meeting. Unless you’re living in Yuma, AZ (one of the sunniest places on earth), you’ll want to invest in some high-quality lighting.

Skip the ring light (that’s so 2020) and go for LED panel lights like these. This way, you won’t have weird glowing orbs reflected in your eyes or glasses, and you’ll know that you’ll always be seen in the most positive light.

4. DND sign. Interruptions were tolerated and almost charming in the early days of the Covid- inspired WFH mandate. 43 million of us have seen the video of the kid who interrupted her father’s TV appearance. But the trial period is over. Now, it’s important that you show up as the brilliant professional you are and that you keep appearances from offspring or pets at bay.

And all it takes is a little planning and a do not disturb sign. When you’re meeting with your close-knit team, maybe the interruptions are a welcome diversion and contribute to the fun, informal atmosphere. But when you’re meeting with a client or making a pitch to your boss, the DND sign will ensure you can stay focused on your goal.

Now that WFH means WOV (work on video), your home office needs an upgrade. It needs to double as your video studio for both synchronous and asynchronous videos, broadcasting your brand to a full gamut of audiences.

These four essential items all stem from the fact that the future of work is video, so make sure your home office is up to date—Mike Brady’s “study” is now a studio.

William Arruda is a public speaker, trainer and co-creator of BrandBoost – a video-based personal branding talent development experience.

I’m a personal branding pioneer, motivational speaker, founder of Reach Personal Branding and cofounder of CareerBlast.TV. I’m also the bestselling author of the definitive books on executive branding: Digital YOU, Ditch.Dare. Do! and Career Distinction. I’m passionate about how personal branding can inspire career-minded professionals to become indispensable, influential and incredibly happy at work—and I teach my clients (major global brands and 20% of the Fortune 100) to increase their success by infusing personal branding into their cultures. Here’s a fun fact: I have the distinct privilege of having delivered more personal branding keynotes to more people, in more countries, than anyone on earth.

Source: 4 Unexpected Items You Need In Your WFH Office So You’re Prepared For The Future Of Work

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Equitable Workplaces Require Getting Over Fear of Conflict

Many employers made dramatic commitments after the murder of George Floyd last year about making their workplaces (and leadership teams) more equitable. Despite this, most of the tech industry, which built its reputation on speed, scale, and innovation, is falling short—and it’s because of fear.

Fear of open conflict is destroying workplaces, and it’s disproportionately harming Black and Latinx women workers. It is limiting any possibility for the 21st-century workforce to reflect the demographics of this country. But it’s possible to lead in a different way.

We want to take you through a few aspects of our working relationship, as leaders of the nonprofit Code2040, which is committed to proportional representation of Black and Latinx people at all levels of tech leadership. Our partnership is based on a mutual commitment to eradicating the ways that fear of conflict and systemic racism maintain white, male dominance in the vast majority of workplaces.

As a Latinx woman manager (Karla), and a Black woman direct report (Mimi), we saw our working relationship as racial equity leaders in tech as a unique opportunity to unpack, unlearn, and redesign relational systems that didn’t serve us. In the years that we‘ve worked together at Code2040, we cultivated a relationship based in candor and feedback, which allowed us to unearth the variety of ways we were socially, professionally, and economically discouraged from bringing the full breadth of our talents to our work.

We noticed that the obstacles to our leadership within and outside of Code2040 fell into a few similar categories, and we began communicating with other women of color in tech and at non-profits, to further develop our hypotheses. It was in those conversations we understood that not only were we not alone. We were all in the same compression chamber, and it was sucking the oxygen out of our capacity to lead.

Failing to recognize common tropes (aka racism)

Stereotypes about Black and Latinx women reinforce themselves and serve to police behavior that could build Black and Latinx power. This is called stereotype threat: The hyper-awareness that one could be confirming a stereotype actually impacts our performance—and sometimes confirms the stereotype about our group. For example, one common trope about Black women is that Black women are intimidating or angry.

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How can mentorship in the workplace help to close the job equity gap? Award-winning diversity, inclusion and mentorship expert Janice Omadeke shares her personal mentorship journey along with four helpful takeaways, as she discusses how women and allies can start closing the job equity gap through mentorship. Janice Omadeke | Change Maker & Entrepreneur

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Trying to never come across as intimidating or angry can be such a focus that it impacts a Black woman’s ability to participate fully in contentious conversations or projects. Essentially, knowing that avoiding conflict with white folks is key to being seen as agreeable and therefore to being safe at work, a Black woman might hold back feedback, edits, or observations that actually could benefit the team and build her standing as a leader in the organization.

We’ve had moments in our journey together where anti-Blackness and Latinx erasure supported assumptions that Mimi was pulling the strings (anti-Blackness) and Karla was being manipulated (Latinx erasure). When Karla became CEO and chose to restructure our organization there were whispers and even reports to the board that Karla’s decision was made because of Mimi’s influence. Stereotype threat on both of our parts meant that Karla being decisive threatened blowback on Mimi as being controlling, or Karla moving more slowly reinforced stereotypes of her being too emotional.

What you can do instead:

  • Educate yourself on how racism, sexism, and xenophobia are commonly leveraged to police women of color’s behavior or even our very presence in the world.
  • Use Karla’s CADREES acronym, which describes the ways in which racism is manifesting in your perception of others. CADREES is Comparison, Assumption, Disproportionate Anger/Punishment/Fear, Resentment, Envy and Erasure, Suspicion.
  • Do not vilify Black folks for the actions that white men are promoted for, such as giving critical feedback on product direction, or lauding their own accomplishments.

Discouraging conflict and punishing candor

In the first few months at Code2040, Karla made a decision Mimi vehemently disagreed with, and Mimi tried to give feedback unemotionally. Weeks later, Karla said “You know, you can cry or even yell with me, and I won’t think you less of a professional.” Never before or since had Mimi been told that she could bring the wholeness of her passion to work without risking being perceived as emotional or angry.

Through the coded language of “professionalism,” Black women are taught to shrink themselves into smaller and less offensive packages through feedback on things like the (lack of) appropriateness of their natural hair, the unfriendliness of their facial expressions, or the tone of their voice.

Tone policing, where the content of someone’s message is ignored because of the listener’s feelings about the way it  was delivered, is a common silencing tool used against Black women. It’s often used when a candid conversation feels threatening to a white person or when the white person is being triggered because they perceive a conflict coming on, and want to derail the conversation or deflect the feedback.

What you can do instead:

  • Pause and reflect. It is important to pull away from your fight, flight, freeze, and appease responses. White supremacy thrives on urgency.
  • Ensure that in tough conversations, you are focusing on the content of the message rather than the delivery.
  • Remember that limiting candor to opinions devoid of feeling often eliminates opportunities for candor altogether.

Grounding feedback in anti-Blackness

Black women are consistently denied direct feedback on their work. When it’s given, it’s often on their communication style, rather than content, systems building, or strategy. Too often, Black women are denied advancement opportunities because they are not seen as a “good culture fit” by white leadership.

Culture fit is often a coded way to suggest that the person in question has not assimilated into white culture or the white standards of professionalism of that particular workplace, or that the person in question challenges authority, is unwilling to be silenced, or points out behaviors or systems that leadership would rather not recognize.

Knowing that feedback for Black women is almost always cloaked in anti-Blackness, Karla took explicit care at the beginning of our management relationship to understand Mimi’s prior experiences with managers and how they might inform Mimi’s relationship to feedback and power.

Karla designed explicit growth arcs, allowed Mimi to make mistakes without punitive consequences, and listened to Mimi’s experience of the workplace. When feedback about Mimi was grounded in anti-Blackness, Karla learned to push team members to articulate their feedback explicitly and challenged them to examine where anti-Blackness was creeping in.

What you can do instead: 

  • Accept that anti-Blackness is a material factor that will limit all Black staff. If you think anti-Blackness never shows up, you haven’t paused or learned enough to identify it.
  • Go to Black women directly and privately with actionable, non-personality-based feedback. Focus on content, ideas, strategy, and deliverables.
  • Develop your own resilience for conflict and candor especially with staff of color. Work with therapists and/or coaches with expertise in racial equity to develop skills and learn tools to help you discern between when you are triggered because a) someone has violated a legitimate boundary of yours versus b) you expect Black compliance or deference and you’re not getting it.
  • Consider framing like “values match” or “culture add,” when hiring and assessing performance. When designed well, a set of “values match” criteria can help assess whether a candidate or employee is aligned with explicit performance or achievement values rather than implicit cultural values.

Invisibilizing Latinx women

Latinx women’s leadership is typically accepted only when it is helpful but invisible. If Latinx women are unwilling to be invisible, the consequences for their visibility can be career-ending. One of Karla’s superpowers as a leader is her uncommon depth of empathy and her willingness to be vulnerable at group level. This skill plays into her gift of connecting patterns to detect shifts in a team, company, or even an industry or culture before they happen.

As VP of Programs, Karla’s vulnerability was often seen as useful when it was behind closed doors—for example, to help quell discord between two staff members. But when deployed organization-wide, or publicly, Karla often got feedback that her vulnerability was discomfiting and unwelcomed, even when that vulnerability created positive visibility and insightful pattern spotting. There were moments when she was challenged as too weak to lead or too radical to be palatable—even when those sentiments conflicted with each other. Once, Karla received feedback from a leader that their “life would be so much easier” if she didn’t lead so vulnerably.

The sentiment was astute in that the rules of power worked differently at Code2040 because of Karla’s leadership, but that caused resentment from many, because of the work that was required to understand more equitable ways of distributing power. White folks often resent when the rules of the workplace that have supported their success and hegemony are challenged, and often prefer that the challenger simply disappear, rather than lay bare the places where upgraded skills are required in order to succeed in the 21st century workplace.

What you can do instead: 

  • Encourage women of color to take stretch opportunities. Don’t penalize them for learning.
  • Factor in the social consequences that come from women of color stepping into the spotlight. Make a plan to protect their social capital.

Today we announced that after three years as CEO, Karla is moving on from her day-to-day work at Code2040, and Mimi is taking the helm as CEO. Though we’re both a bit grief-stricken to lose this partnership, it has been the formative professional experience of a lifetime. We hope that sharing a glimpse into our journey gives you a sense of the power of shared leadership, a taste of the hope and creativity available when you brazenly fight anti-Blackness and Latinx erasure, and the joy of building a place where Black and Latinx people can lead.

By: Mimi Fox Melton and Karla Monterroso

Source: Equitable workplaces require getting over fear of conflict

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4 Ways You Can Tackle Racial Discrimination In Your Workplace

Group portrait of a creative business team standing outdoors, three quarter length, close up

Racial discrimination is a global issue that has been an ongoing and commonly ignored problem. Staying silent has proven to be deadly, making one complicit in the system of oppression. 2020 has proven to be a historical year surrounding the pandemic, and now, the uprising against racial injustice after George Floyd’s recent death.

Protests have spanned across the nation with over 30 countries bringing awareness to the racism that exists today. These protests in combination with social media have exposed companies, brands, individuals and even the NFL for their behaviors, comments and practices.

While many brands are posting black squares in response to #blackouttuesday or tweeting #blacklivesmatter, very few are creating conversations or doing anything more than that. David Weisenfeld, J.D., XpertHR podcast host, advised: “Don’t make a statement just to make a statement. It needs to be meaningful.” More than ever, consumers and communities are looking to brands and individuals to see how they’re responding to the protests and what action they’re taking to promote equality and social justice.

There are four ways employers can take meaningful action to tackle racism in the workplace.

Keep The Conversation Going

This is a turning point in not only the workplace but throughout the world. The first step is acknowledging the injustices currently present and expressing your commitment to doing better. It’s critical that there are actions to back up your words or else they’ll remain empty promises. Employers can do this by initiating productive and respectful discussions, forming employee resource groups, training on preventing harassment and discrimination and creating channels where employees feel safe speaking up about racial issues.

Chief people officer at PMI Worldwide, Tammy Perkins, said, it’s important for managers to seek input from missing voices to help obtain different ideas for a diverse point of view. Jessica Lambrecht, founder of The Rise Journey, explained “ensuring you have diverse voices represented at all levels of the organization will help to create an inclusive workplace.”

Tina Charisma, founder of Charisma Campaign, explained “diversified work forces support empathy and compassion between people beyond their race in that the awareness shared during conversations goes on to influence relationships and eventually work practices.”

Embed Anti-Racism Into Your Values, Training And Actions

Building a stronger, healthier and better workplace culture is dependent on having a solid set of core values that are integrated into every policy, decision and process. Now is the time to denounce any weak policies, behaviors, partnerships and client relationships that contradict your company values. Maudette Uzoh, owner of Amazing Days Nursery, said “companies should focus on how they can cultivate an environment where it’s impossible for racism of any sort to sprout or thrive.”

Anti-racism training should never be conducted to check-the-box, but to educate and drive positive change. Training alone isn’t enough to shift people’s perspectives. This is because racism exists in attitudes, cultural messages, stereotypes and beliefs due to implicit bias. Companies can actively reduce bias through training along with embedding processes, policies and expectations that help create a culture rooted in diversity and inclusion.

Ultimately, it’s management’s responsibility to demonstrate their commitment to diversity and the value it brings to the company as well as holding others accountable. Furthermore, they need to actively communicate their stance on racial discrimination and what won’t be tolerated along with the consequences for violation. Racism, in any form, should never be overlooked, excused or tolerated, regardless of someone’s rank or title.

Spread Awareness

Aside from conversations, employers can spread awareness by providing resources to educate individuals about the culture of racism and the history of different races. Most individuals are unaware of racial injustice and the comments they unconsciously make towards their BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) colleagues.

The unfortunate reality is victims of racism often remain silent for fear of retaliation or being unfairly judged. This is where management falls short because they turn a blind eye to the discriminatory comments made or downplay the severity of the remarks or behavior.

More awareness needs to be brought to racial discrimination. Justifying or letting one comment slide sets the tone that racism is acceptable. This is how toxic cultures breed. It starts with one incident that’s overlooked and then turns into two, five, ten and soon becomes the norm.

Companies need to hold themselves accountable on what they stand for as well as bringing more awareness to social issues by utilizing their platforms to stand up for the cause. Publishing a statement on the company website, similar to Ben & Jerry’s, is a powerful way to show support for the movement and take meaningful action. Taking one look at Ben & Jerry’s website or social media platforms, there’s no question they are fighting against white supremacy.

Likewise, on their website, they share four ways readers can dismantle white supremacy in addition to releasing a new ice cream flavor called Justice Remix’d. This has undoubtedly given Ben & Jerry’s a competitive edge over other ice cream companies such as Halo Top, Carvel or Breyers who have yet to acknowledge the current situation.

Cultivate Diversity And Tackle Unconscious Bias

The hiring process is just one of many ways employers can combat racial discrimination. Leaders are the ones who establish the company culture whether it’s intentional or not. Taking meaningful action against racism means leaders need to step up and actively support BIPOC. Talking about diversity and inclusion efforts means little when there’s no action taken.

Many employers unknowingly perpetuate racism in their own workplace because they fail to acknowledge the flaws of their own internal company culture. Tackling unconscious bias with the help of a third party, accepting feedback from BIPOC colleagues and taking an honest look at ones culture can help minimize the constraints that prevent the culture from thriving.

The Harvard Business School wrote an article on how minority job applicants are deleting references to their race on their resume in hopes of boosting their chances at getting a job. The article explained how “Asian applicants often change their foreign-sounding names to something more American-sounding” as well as Americanizing their interests by using common white western culture activities such as snowboarding or hiking. Furthermore, African Americans tone down their involvement in black organizations by removing the word “black” from a professional society or scholarship.

Katherine DeCelles, Associate Professor at Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, shared “a bias against minorities runs rampant through the resume screening process at companies throughout the United States.” Applicants should not have to sacrifice their achievements, cultural connection or human capital for fear of not being hired.

Companies now have an opportunity to recognize their unconscious bias and prioritize creating a more diversified workplace. One way of doing this is adding blind hiring into the recruitment process. Madison Campbell, CEO of Leda Health Company, said “name-blind applications will increase the focus on qualifications and merit rather than the biases that even the best allies can have.”

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

I’m a Leadership Coach & Workplace Culture Consultant at Heidi Lynne Consulting helping individuals and organizations gain the confidence to become better leaders for themselves and their teams. As a consultant, I deliver and implement strategies to develop current talent and create impactful and engaging employee experiences. Companies hire me to to speak, coach, consult and train their teams and organizations of all sizes. I’ve gained a breadth of knowledge working internationally in Europe, America and Asia. I use my global expertise to provide virtual and in-person consulting and leadership coaching to the students at Babson College, Ivy League students and my global network. I’m a black belt in Six Sigma, former Society of Human Resources (SHRM) President and domestic violence mentor. Learn more at http://www.heidilynneco.com or get in touch at Heidi@heidilynneco.com.

Source: 4 Ways You Can Tackle Racial Discrimination In Your Workplace

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Example of a possible example of unconscious racial discrimination in the workplace. For more info on unconscious bias training: https://www.emtrain.com/products/prog… This video portrays some employees of color coming together to protest and support the “Black Lives Matters” movement in their workplace. However, a co-worker disagrees and erases their writing and claims that “All Lives Matter”. This obviously angers the other employees and makes them feel attacked by their coworkers.
This is an example of racial discrimination in the workplace and leads to feelings of isolation in the work environment where teamwork and cooperation are essential to the success of the company. To see more examples of racial discrimination in the workplace and how to handle them in your work environment, go to http://www.emtrain.com
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New Survey from SurveyMonkey and AAPI Data Detail Experiences with Racial Discrimination, Hate Crimes, and Harassment | MarketScreener
When: Tuesday, March 30th, 2pm Pacific/5pm EasternWhere: Zoom webinar, RSVP https://ucr.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_X-iGxJgeTiOrmJuI2KGUcw SAN MATEO, Calif., March 29, 2021 — This…| March 29, 2021…
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Sounding the alarm against racism – European External Action Service
eeas.europa.eu – Today
Racism continues to be an expression of hatred that must be tackled across the globe. On the International Day against Racial Discrimination, the EU stresses once again its commitment to the elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. But commitments need to be always translated in acts. That’s why the EU has called for an Anti-racism Summit, to build a truly anti-racist Union.
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[…]   Demonstrations across the country continued over the weekend to raise awareness about racial discrimination that Asian Americans have experienced for decades […]
0
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[…] They wrongly conclude that predictive policing by its nature leads to increased racial discrimination […]
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Contact with migrants and perceived school climate as correlates of bullying toward migrants classmates – Caravita – – New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development
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5 Ways to Increase Morale When You’re In Charge of An Unmotivated Team

In Gallup’s 2017 State of the Global Workplace, it was reported that only 15% of employees feel motivated and engaged at work. This lack of motivation is undoubtedly a problem for the workers themselves; however, it’s an even bigger problem for the leaders who are trying to coax high performance out of a group of people who feel psychologically disconnected from their jobs.

Some leaders might be prone to brush this problem under the rug and pretend that it doesn’t exist. Or, they might throw up their hands, complaining about “workers today,” and feel helpless to do anything about it. The reality is that organizations are implementing all sorts of new technologies and systems to streamline efficiencies, yet the people side of change is often being overlooked.

If you’re inundated with workers who have lost that passion for what they do, and wondering how to reignite their spark and increase morale, here are 5 approaches you can adopt:

1. Start with yourself

If you’ve got an unmotivated team, the logical starting point for finding a resolution is to look at what’s going on within the team, right? The truth is that yes, the core of the problem may well lie within your team itself… but what if it doesn’t? It’s natural to want to point the finger and place blame, especially when you’re striving to do things by the book, but it’s worth pausing and taking a moment to reflect upon how your team views you as a leader. Try to look at your leadership approach from your team’s perspective.

  • Do you appear passionate about your work?
  • Are you respectful and upbeat?
  • Do you nit-pick and make your team feel like they can’t do anything right?
  • Do you provide constructive feedback and praise a job well done?
  • Do you follow the company culture?
  • Do you set good examples?
  • How do people feel when they are around you?

When I first mention this to leaders that I work with, I’m often met with that look that says ‘don’t be silly, it’s not MY fault.’Still, the Prudential Pulse of the American Worker special report suggested that only less than one third of employees feel that their manager has what it takes to successfully lead a team. Frequently, there is a disconnect between how effective managers think they are leading, and how their employees perceive them.

Therefore, by taking a good, hard look at your own leadership style, you’ll be able to ensure that you’re doing everything within your power to use yourself as an instrument to boost morale. I suggest starting with a thorough leadership inventory. If you’re unsure how to do this, my book The Consummate Leader outlines the steps in the inventory process.

2. Be blunt

We can spend all day taking guesses as to why a team is feeling unmotivated. Is it the workload? The tasks they’re doing? Are they bored? Are they lacking a good role model? We can guess and guess until the cows come home, but at the end of the day we’re no closer to understanding the root of the problem. Therefore, instead of making assumptions, it’s much more productive to just ask.

Taking an interest in your employees can make them feel more valued, and feeling more valued is key to boosting motivation in more than 90% of workers, according to the American Psychological Association. Depending on the characteristics of your team and your relationship with them, you may decide to schedule 1:1 meetings to discuss problems openly, or you could decide to draft up an anonymous survey which can make workers feel more comfortable sharing their feelings. Do what works for you.

3. Reassess workloads

Stress is a frequent challenge for many of the people I coach. I’ve found that trying to keep up with the demands to do more with less can cause some people to start to resent jobs that they previously might have enjoyed.

If your team members have been working hard, without any respite, they could be suffering from burnout; a nasty condition that affects around two thirds of all workers according to a Gallup study. I’ve written quite a bit about this in a previous blog post which looks at strategies for coping with burnout and finding balance, and it’s something that I’ve seen span practically every industry, from IT to healthcare.

The problem with burnout is that is creates both physical and psychological symptoms, so it not only makes people feel negatively about their job, but actually causes them to lose motivation through the physical signs of stress, like loss of appetite and headaches. Burnout is something that can progress quickly, so catching it early is vital. Consider if your employees are being given too much to handle, and delegate tasks keeping that in mind.

4. Look at the big picture

Depending on the size of the business, a failure to see the big picture can be a major reason for feeling unmotivated at work. In smaller organizations where there’s typically a more flexible organizational structure, it can be easy for employees to see where and how they fit into the work family. In larger businesses, however, which tend to be more segmented and departmentalized, it can be hard for employees to see exactly how their input affects the core business, and this can be pretty demotivating at times.

Ask your team about their career goals, and highlight how the work they’re doing not only benefits the business but also contributes to their own personal career growth. Aligning individual tasks with the bigger picture provides a much-needed sense of progress. In her book, The Progress Principle, Harvard Business School Professor Teresa Amabile studied more than 10,000 diary entries from employees. She found that when workers felt like they were progressing and achieving, they noted feeling happier, more positive, and ultimately more motivated. Thus, by putting an emphasis on development, you might find that you’re better able to engage your team.

5. Take time for team building

One of the most important things that you can do is ensure that your employees feel that they are part of a team, and understand how instrumental they are in supporting the team structure. Team building activities are a great way to create a sense of camaraderie, and can even make work more fun, too.  Give your team more of a chance to get to know one another and build a sense of trust. Whether you choose simple activities like celebrating birthdays or enjoying a team lunch, or more involved activities like having an off-site retreat facilitated by a consultant such as myself, you can create a greater sense of goodwill amongst team members that can lead to greater motivation.

In her article with Steven Kramer in the Harvard Business Review, Theresa Amabile argued that there are two factors related to increasing morale when you’re in charge of an unmotivated team: catalysts, and nourishers. Catalysts are those things that have a direct impact on workplace productivity, like streamlining work processes or establishing role clarity. Nourishers are different. Nourishers work to promote better health and wellbeing in employees, giving them the inner tools they need to generate feelings of positivity. Team building activities are fantastic nourishers, promoting ideas of mutual respect and emotional support that can affect how people perceive their jobs.

By: Dr. Patricia Thompson

 

Source: 5 Ways to Increase Morale When You’re in Charge of an Unmotivated Team – Silver Lining Psychology

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So what is morality in business ? The simplest answer is that morality is businesses’ attempt to define what is right and what i […] everyone… No system of morality is accepted as universal, and the answers to the question: What is morality in business? Differ sharply from– business to business, country to country, group to group, and time to time […] they choose and define their own actions of right and wrong or good and bad… This is a disturbing morality in business trend– many even a crisis […] In the article Morality in Business by Jeff Brewer writes: Business is people and people are the business, ultimately […]
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Getting Your Team Ready for the Hybrid Office

Getting Your Team Ready for the Hybrid Office

In all the years I’ve been a remote- advocate, there’s one thing I’ve consistently noticed when talking to remote workers: They almost never want to go back to the office. Recent studies have also shown that only 12% of employees are willing to work full-time from an office in the future.

Though it comes with its own challenges, it’s clear that implementing a workplace will be essential. It also requires a solid plan for getting your team on board before you decide to go back to the office, even if just for a couple of days per week.

Here are five ways of preparing your team for the switch.

Related: How to Support Your Returning Workforce

1. Provide guarantees for a safe work environment

Physical safety and stable mental are the chief priorities for most employees. Health hazards represent the primary difference between the office as we once knew it and the future of the workplace. So going back to the office naturally raises concerns.

But employees are well aware of these issues by now. Many of them were seriously concerned even before 2020 whenever the flu season was around the corner. A line can be drawn between a top employer who acknowledges employees as the company’s number-one asset and one whose priorities are elsewhere.

Put together a realistic plan to tackle in-office health, including:

  • Rethinking office paths.
  • Adding more space between desks.
  • Periodically running health check-ups on your staff.
  • Implementinging a strict room-booking system to prevent overcrowding.
  • Having people come into the office at different times of day.
  • Keeping routine meetings via video calls.

Present this plan to your employees before you ask them to return to the office so they can be aware of the new changes and suggest potential improvements.

2. Place the individual at the center of your business

Remote work has been challenging enough in the pandemic. In a hybrid setting, these obstacles will only accumulate. Within a hybrid workplace, every individual is likely to struggle with making the schedule work for them. As work keeps switching between the office and their screens at home, they might lose focus and .

This can put a halt on their professional-development goals, leaving them feeling like they haven’t achieved everything they wanted at the end of the year. Giving everyone the freedom to craft a schedule that suits their needs can prove a first good step to take in this regard.

Similarly, the issue of loneliness when working from home will persist for people who still haven’t adapted. Imposing a strict policy as to when people should come to the office won’t work for everyone. The few people who are feeling constricted or find it hard to focus at home will be better off with flexible choices that let them work from the office with their colleagues, even if just on a rotational basis.

To find all hidden problems, talk to your team — to every single person. Anonymous employee-feedback surveys or polls are appropriate approaches to receive the details of sensitive issues they wouldn’t want to otherwise disclose.

3. Ask employees for feedback before making any change

The pre-remote-work era was largely dependent on leadership decisions. Employee feedback was something not all organizations took seriously. Even when they did, surveys were sent too rarely. But working remotely highlighted the importance of listening to employees and meeting their demands. In turn, managers have gained relevant insights into how they could improve employee satisfaction, simply by talking to the people in their company.

Making a change within the hybrid office can always have a severely negative impact. Get everyone to come into the office and you might end up with half of your team sick. Force them to show up at strict office hours and you’ll lose them as they leave for more understanding employers.

Before you decide on anything, discuss it with everyone. Schedules, work processes, tools, concerns, team collaboration and independent wishes are all aspects to bring up before returning to your office.

4. Paving the way for new restrictions

Regardless of how strong your hybrid-workplace plans are, new restrictions are bound to appear, so don’t rely only on your office for specific project tasks. Make sure that everything you’re planning to handle in the office can be done at home too. Prepare a list of policies or guidelines, and don’t ditch a tool that might turn out to be your best on-project communication pathway.

Keep your team culture in mind at this point. Have a list of team-building activities your employees can bond over using video calls in case of a new lockdown. This is also the perfect time to tap into a global talent pool and start hiring non-locally. Bonus points for diversity right so you can benefit from fresh talent and new cultures.

Related: 17 Major Companies That Have Announced Employees Can Work Remotely Long Term

5. Prioritize transparency and trust

Keep everyone in the loop. Have a document anyone can access to see your roadmap to the hybrid office. Be fully honest when it comes to not being able to do something. If you can’t promise everyone will enjoy using a new collaboration app, let them know. The same goes for any time you need to reduce costs or prepare for a low-sales season.

8Nearly 90% of employees expect CEOs to speak out publicly regarding any new societal or local issues. Displaying trust and interest in keeping your employees safe gives them the mental security they need to worry less about what’s to come. Transparency is the keyword to hold on to as you’re preparing your team to join a hybrid workplace. Forget that, and you’re bound to see a sudden drop in your employee retention rates.

Alexandra Cote

 

By: Alexandra Cote/ Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP

 

Source: Getting Your Team Ready for the Hybrid Office

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3 Ways To Identify A Toxic Coworker And Set Healthy Boundaries

It only takes one toxic worker to wreak havoc and negatively impact an entire workplace. Toxic coworkers not only make work dreadful and unpleasant, but they harm the productivity and morale of everyone around them. They create unnecessary drama, erode the culture, undermine the values of the company and destroy trust within the team.

According to a Fierce Inc. study, four out of five employees currently work or have worked with a potentially toxic coworker. Randstad conducted a study exploring why employees leave their workplace and found 58% have left or are considering leaving due to negativity, office politics and disrespectful behavior.

It’s easier said than done to not allow the toxicity of one person to affect your own work especially if you have to work closely with them. Working with a toxic coworker is a powerless and draining experience. Furthermore, it’s not always easy to identify a toxic coworker especially if you consider them to be a friend.

If you feel drained or negative after interacting with them, this could be a sign they’re toxic. Toxic behavior can manifest through words, body language, disrespecting boundaries, hoarding information, purposely undermining others, not following through on promises or commitments, insults and rumors, to name a few.

Here are three ways you can identify a toxic coworker and set healthy boundaries.

Their Victim Syndrome Prevents Them From Taking Responsibility MORE FOR YOUForget About San Francisco And Silicon Valley—Miami Is Planning On Becoming The Next Great Tech HubMeet Canada’s Best Employers 2021Building The Resilient Organization

Employees with a victim mindset will always talk about how much they hate their job, their boss, their team or the company. There’s a difference between having a bad day and someone who revels in creating misery for others. Dan Bailey, president of WikiLawn Los Angeles Lawn Care, explained, “the more people they can get to share in their discontent, the better they feel.”

Despite being disengaged, toxic coworkers will make excuses for their performance when given constructive feedback with the belief that it’s a personal attack against them. Moreover, they hold grudges and never lose a chance to share how they’ve been wronged even if those situations have been rectified.

Those who are new to a company are prone to being swept up into the negativity as they’re eager to make friends and unaware of a toxic persons patterns. For this reason, it’s important to do pulse checks to see if this is a cultural thing or a person thing.

Here are some coping strategies to help you bounce back from a toxic encounter and stay mentally strong:

  • Surround yourself with uplifting coworkers who take responsibility and learn from their mistakes
  • Seek out your company’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or professional help to learn how to better manage the situation and have a safe space to talk about it
  • Talk to your HR department and keep the conversation based on facts rather than an individual’s personality. Be prepared to provide specific examples of incidents
  • Incorporate social activities you can look forward to after work
  • Practice gratitude and meditation

They Gossip More Than They Knowledge Share

Gossip is the root of many internal company problems. It breeds negativity and spreads quickly. Yasir Nawaz, digital content producer at Pure VPN, said, “toxic colleagues drain your energy and are a constant source of demotivation at work. The worst part is you may not realize you’re in the company of a toxic colleague until it’s too late.” He added, “there’s one sure-fire way to identify one; someone that constantly talks about others behind their backs.”

Melanie Musson, insurance specialist for Buy Auto Insurance asserted, “gossip doesn’t help build a stronger team; rather, it tears down teamwork. Chances are, if they gossip to you, they’re also gossiping about you.”

Another warning sign a colleague is toxic is if they refuse to share knowledge with you that prevents you from being able to do your job. As a victim of a former toxic coworker and boss, I know how detrimental their impact can be not only on my work and mental health, but also to the team and overall workplace. In my experience, my former coworker excluded me from meetings, team activities and withheld information that prevented me from being able to do my job well and used it against me.

Musson explained, “toxic people put themselves first. They really don’t care about others and use others’ misfortunes as a way to move forward at work. If a team member is struggling, the toxic coworker may take the opportunity to show how they excel in that same area.”

Eventually, I set a boundary with her where I started documenting every incident before confronting her. Then, I worked around her to find the information I needed and limited my interactions with her altogether. Be aware, setting healthy boundaries will often push toxic coworkers to react negatively. However, those who are the happiest and most productive are the ones who set healthy boundaries and those who aren’t used to having boundaries set with them are likely to take offense.

Here are boundaries you can set with a coworker that gossips:

  • Empathize and redirect them to focus on what’s working or to speak with their manager
  • Refuse to participate by excusing yourself from the conversation when they start gossiping
  • Focus on positive gossip that celebrates others instead of participating in negative gossip that hurts morale
  • Communicate your boundaries letting them know you don’t like to talk about office politics
  • Surround yourself with people who would rather share knowledge than spread gossip
  • Use key phrases such as “this sounds like a rumor and I don’t want to hear it”, “I’d rather engage in conversations that are positive and uplifting” or countering with “is that a fact or gossip?”

They Use Passive Aggressive Comments Rather Than Compliments

Matt Satell, CEO of Prime Mailboxes said, “toxic employees are often those who purposely undermine the capabilities of others so they can stay ahead of their competition.” They thrive on finding fault, negativity and holding people back.

Here are a few examples of passive-aggressive behaviors and comments:

  • Giving the silent treatment
  • Responding with sarcasm or disguised insults
  • Blaming others
  • Rejecting feedback and others perspectives
  • Making excuses
  • A cynical attitude
  • An air or superiority

Nich Chernets, CEO of Data for SEO said “in my experience, toxic people tend to complain a lot, even in the situations when everything is good. They’re looking for an audience that will constantly listen to their problems. In the long run, these people bring a lot of negativity to the work process and burden others with unnecessary things.” John Stevenson, marketing specialist at My GRE Exam Preparation added, “in turn, this creates an environment where other members of the team cannot work at full capacity because they’re too busy watching their backs.”

You can cultivate positivity through uplifting interactions with other colleagues, listening to motivating podcasts and finding the good in the work you do. It’s easy to lose motivation when a toxic coworker undermines your abilities and believes their role and contributions are more valuable than everyone else’s.

Here are some ways you can remind yourself of your hard work and contributions:

  • Keep a running document of your achievements and wins
  • Copy and paste recognitions from emails, client/manager reviews and Slack comments into the running document
  • Reference the document for a motivation boost

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website

Heidi Lynne Kurter

Heidi Lynne Kurter

I’m a Leadership Coach & Workplace Culture Consultant at Heidi Lynne Consulting helping individuals and organizations gain the confidence to become better leaders for themselves and their teams. As a consultant, I deliver and implement strategies to develop current talent and create impactful and engaging employee experiences. Companies hire me to to speak, coach, consult and train their teams and organizations of all sizes. I’ve gained a breadth of knowledge working internationally in Europe, America and Asia. I use my global expertise to provide virtual and in-person consulting and leadership coaching to the students at Babson College, Ivy League students and my global network. I’m a black belt in Six Sigma, former Society of Human Resources (SHRM) President and domestic violence mentor. Learn more at http://www.heidilynneco.com or get in touch at Heidi@heidilynneco.com

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Jennifer Brick

Toxic Coworkers | How to Deal with Toxic People at Work // Do you have a toxic coworker? Or even worse, several toxic workers. Nothing make a toxic work culture faster than having these difficult coworkers and having to deal with toxic coworkers every day. If you have toxic work colleagues, you need to know how to cope with toxic coworkers. You can disarm toxic people in the workplace, and while it won’t totally heal a toxic work environment, it can make your day to day in a toxic workplace slightly more tolerable. In this video I will show you how to deal with toxic coworkers – it’s six simple strategies that will disarm toxic person at work and help you survive until you can escape the toxic environment at work. I’d love to know which strategies you would implement or how you have dealt with toxic coworkers in the past. ****************** Stop settling for mediocrity, it’s time to glow up your career. Attend the free LIVE workshop on December 2nd at 12pm EST. glowupyourcareer.com ************* Think I might be the right Career Success Coach for you? Learn more & apply: capdecasolutions.com/coaching Accelerate your job search, get Hired in a Hurry hiredinahurry.com ****************** More videos to help deal with difficult coworkers and toxic workplaces: TOXIC WORK ENVIRONMENT: 14 Signs Your Workplace is Toxic (and How to Cope) https://youtu.be/GEJBaigzUcA​ COWORKERS ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS https://youtu.be/XjhF3xQE1lM​ How to Work with People You Don’t Like https://youtu.be/x1S5EPX0Jik​ HOW TO HANDLE DIFFICULT COWORKERS | Dealing with difficult people at work https://youtu.be/R-nI-IpQYbo​ POSITIVE ATTITUDE AT WORK (HOW TO STAY POSITIVE AT WORK) https://youtu.be/wVKUB0-ZHvM​ ****************** SUCCESS HABITS & RESOURCES Join my private community, the Strive Squad (it’s free!) https://www.facebook.com/groups/striv…​ I’m all about productivity tools, great books, and sanity savers in general. Browse my favorites in my Amazon Store: https://www.amazon.com/shop/jenniferb…​ Get your bookworm on when you’re on the move. Audible is my OBSESSION, and it helps me read an extra 1-2 books per week. Get 30 days free: https://amzn.to/39d3U3W​ Try my 30 books in 30 days challenge, and make it easier with Kindle Unlimited (your first month is free!): https://amzn.to/3ftIBMB​ Being the best means you keep your knowledge up to date, for this I love Skillshare! Get a free trial: https://bit.ly/3l3oTbJ​ What Am I Wearing? I hate wearing the same thing twice and I love saving money, so 95% of my wardrobe is from Rent the Runway. Wanna try it (and save $30): https://bit.ly/3995mnT​ ****************** LET’S HANG! I post more content and videos on LinkedIn – follow me there https://linkedin.com/in/jenniferbrick​ Daily career glow-up videos on TikTok https://www.tiktok.com/@jenniferbrick…​ You can also follow me on: Instagram: http://instagram.com/capdeca​ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ccJenniferbr…​ Twitter: https://twitter.com/jennifer_brick​ Sometimes I write stuff for Thrive Global https://thriveglobal.com/authors/jenn…

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4 Ways Companies Can Use Data To Shape Workplace Reopening Plans

Covid-19 forced organizations to rethink the future of physical workspaces. Everything from desk layouts to conference rooms to communal areas needs to be approached with a new lens of employee health and safety. Data plays a critical role in how leaders structure their reopening plans, identify metrics for reopening and measure effectiveness.

Some countries are already reopening offices as the rest of the world watches and learns. One of the biggest lessons from the Asia Pacific region so far, as Gartner suggests, is the importance of “transparency” and “iteration.” As Hernan Asorey, chief data officer at Salesforce explained, “We are always assessing the data we have available to make decisions. For every evolving need, we pragmatically look at what exists from trusted sources, we vet it with experts in the field, and then we assess, augment, learn and adapt.”

Since organizations are faced with entirely new challenges—all dependent on a variety of factors including office location, workspace type and workforce size—leaders need data to inform a flexible approach to planning, informed by data. 

There are four areas where data can inform your reopening strategy:

  1. Creating a COVID-19 task force
  2. Tracking regional policies
  3. Informing workspace planning
  4. Analyzing employee survey data

These areas represent a starting point and not an exhaustive list. Since all of these details vary based on your organization, this piece should be used for informational purposes only. 

 Create a COVID-19 task force, backed by data

Reopening is a cross-functional effort. Organizations are instituting centralized, assigned Covid-19 task forces—made up of a variety of people with a diverse set of skills and perspectives—to manage details like workplace logistics and employee communications. This group should represent your workforce as a whole.

“At Tableau, we’re bringing together a variety of stakeholders into workplace conversations,” said Debbie Smith, senior manager of workplace at Tableau. “We have perspectives—and data—from all aspects of the company, from security to HR to real estate to marketing to procurement. We’re also bringing in outside experts to inform details like capacity planning and air filtration.”

All of these stakeholders work with different data points to inform their perspectives. For example, health and safety teams might monitor regional policy data, procurement might use data to inform any new equipment purchases, like panels between desks, and IT might work with workplace teams to determine how to replace existing equipment like phones or headsets.

Creating a dedicated team is a foundational step in a reopening strategy, because data is useful only when people can provide context and take action.

Track regional policy data to inform reopening

Reopening strategies are largely dependent on local policies. In addition to these policies, organizations are also faced with a long list of guidance from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and more.

Organizations are exploring centralized dashboards to track changing policies and to inform key indicators to determine when it is safe to reopen offices. SC&H Group’s data analytics team, for example, created a sample dashboard that shows what this could look like for a company in the United States. The dashboard highlights legislation on a state-by-state basis alongside a map showing number of cases.

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Sample dashboard from managing consulting group, SC&H Group that displays local policy data alongside regional case data. Interact with the full visualization.

Christopher Adolph, associate professor of political science and adjunct associate professor of statistics at the University of Washington, is curating and maintaining a data set on state policies related to Covid-19 from open source data. He encourages data and analytics leaders to take a focused approach when visualizing local policy data. That might mean considering other visualization types beyond maps to focus on specific, regional metrics that show the impact of Covid-19.

“If I were an organization,” shares Adolph, “I would structure a visualization to show what’s happening in each location associated with my business, with filters that allow stakeholders to sort through stringency of policies, trends in mobility and trends in cases. I would want to see a time series of how policies change over time as cases increase or decrease in a region.”

Data analytics and geospatial services firm Lovelytics created a dashboard template combining Covid-19 case data from the Tableau Covid-19 Data Hub with sample HR data, providing a breakdown of at-risk employees by building, age group and location. Although this example was originally developed for companies looking to stabilize in a crisis, these types of dashboards could also become a single source of truth in the event of another wave of the virus after reopening.

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Tableau partner, Lovelytics, created a COVID-19 and human resources dashboard solution to analyze risk by location. Interact with the full visualization.

Inform workspace planning, including desk layouts and density

Some of the most complex challenges that employers face in the wake of Covvid-19 are related to workspace layouts. Many organizations have adopted open office concepts, making it difficult to enforce six-feet guidance between employees. They’re also evaluating the use of shared spaces like kitchens, bathrooms and elevators along with high-end air filtration systems to reduce the spread of infectious droplets. One way that employers can start to make sense of all of these logistical decisions is through data.

Some key data points that employers are collecting (or considering collecting) around space utilization are:

  • Physical distance (between desks and in shared spaces)
  • De-densification (removing furniture in communal spaces like kitchens and conference rooms)
  • Air movement and ventilation
  • Pinch points like elevators and bathrooms

These new challenges are leading organizations to take a new approach to workplace metrics. Salesforce, for example, is analyzing data to model staggered arrival times so they can effectively manage elevator capacity. Salesforce is also partnering with Siemens on key solutions for a “touchless office,” where organizations can manage occupancy and location data to augment their contact tracing process (on an opt-in basis).

Global commercial real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield noted in its Recovery Readiness guide that organizations may want to “invest in operational building technologies that enhance the integration, visibility, and control of building and workplace systems” (like occupancy sensors or air quality monitoring capabilities). The company also piloted a new office layout in Amsterdam deemed “The 6-Feet Office,” using large circles and visual cues to enforce a six-foot separation between employees.

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An example dashboard from Tableau Zen Master Ken Flerlage. Note that this is intended to be an example and not a template. There are a variety of factors in workplace planning that organizations need to consider beyond the six-feet guideline. Interact with the full visualization.

Recently, Tableau Zen Master Ken Flerlage explored what an office space visualization could look like, drawing six-feet circles around each desk. If a desk area doesn’t follow the six-foot perimeter, then the circle turns red and indicates that the company needs to rethink the layout of that office area. In Flerlage’s blog post about the visualization, Amanda Makulec, data visualization lead at Excella and Bridget Cogley, senior consultant at Teknion, explain that this template is a good starting point for people as they rethink office seating arrangements, but that there needs to be additional thinking around the complexities of how people move in an office setting.

To account for these complexities, some companies are hiring external experts to help set these parameters and inform logistics planning. All of these concepts will require additional iteration and flexibility as organizations put them into practice.

Whether or not they can physically return to work, organizations also need to think about employee needs. Are employees comfortable returning to work—and if so, in what capacity? Some employees need to stay home with kids as schools remain closed, others may have compromised immune systems, and some may just be more comfortable working from home until a vaccine is available to the public.

Some companies, including Tableau, are gauging employees’ concerns through regular surveys. They’ll ask questions about general well-being, like how they’re adapting to work-from-home and how the company can support them. Companies in the logistical planning stages might ask questions about whether or not employees are comfortable returning to work to determine reopening schedules.

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An example dashboard from the Tableau people analytics team showing results of a COVID-19 work-from-home survey (this dashboard contains sample data). Interact with the full visualization.

With this data at their fingertips, organizations can analyze:

  • Mental health benchmarks
  • Employee feedback to inform reopening schedule
  • Employee needs like office equipment or childcare support services

Once offices reopen, companies could join this survey data with utilization data to understand how many employees are actually coming into the office on a regular basis. This can help inform whether or not employees are comfortable with new working conditions. 

Analyzing the results of these surveys can help organizations develop important metrics around how the pandemic is affecting their employee base and help them determine how to take action.

Tableau

Tableau

From connection through collaboration, Tableau is the most powerful, secure, and flexible end-to-end analytics platform for your data. Elevate people with the power of data. Designed for the individual, but scaled for the enterprise, Tableau is the only business intelligence platform that turns your data into insights that drive action.

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How to Keep Your Team Energized During the Holidays

This year, the holidays are different from any other that we have had in the past. Many families have been quarantined together all year long, struggling to balance the lines between work and home. Being on calls, virtual meetings, and attending online conferences, while feeding small children and pets is exhausting. Work feels like it is never-ending, and many are struggling with burn out. We all are due for a much-needed time off — to properly be strengthened as individuals, and as a team.

As 2020 ends and 2021 feels uncertain (work circumstances, vaccines, etc.), here are a few ways you can help your teams’ recharge and enter 2021 feeling refreshed and ready to handle any new (or old) challenge that comes.

Incentivizing health and wellness during the holiday season 

Balance is the name of the game. Think through the different policies and practices that have been in place this year and evaluate whether those have been working. 2020 has been the year of transition to remote working, and virtual collaboration. Workplace stress along with family/personal responsibilities can cause burn out and fatigue that affects productivity and effectiveness in all areas of life.

Related: Preparing Ecommerce for the “New” Holidays

As a leader, be willing to be generous and flexible. Take a closer look at your rules and norms and figure out the areas where flexibility is available. See if you can build in additional days off, such as mandatory mental health days. Or for the holidays, ask, can the team spare mandatory blackout periods i.e. no work emails after 5 pm during the months of November and December. 

Send out intentional and thoughtful notes to your employees for the end of the year. Acknowledge the struggles and imperfections with the transition and any new policies. Go the distance with a small, handwritten note dropped in the mailbox to your team mates. This will make people feel special and remind them that you are thinking of them.  

Provide gifts that encourage relaxation and recharge. For example, gift cards are a great way to deliver options for local massages, nail salons, float tanks. And if these shops are still not open due to COVID restrictions, your team members will have something to look forward to in the future, all the while supporting a local, small business.

In the upcoming months make connection a priority, and aim to conduct a few group activities, such as virtually led meditation workshops or virtual exercise classes. Teams could also hire a therapist and conduct a workshop to discuss tactics to monitor stress and wellness, especially with increased responsibilities around the holidays.

Make wellness a priority for your teams and prepare your people through the message that their well-being is important, and their ability to recharge in the next few months is a top priority. Employers that can do this successfully will reap the benefits of increased commitment and productivity as the new year comes around.

Protecting time and energy 

Research has shown that the priorities of younger women and men have changed, as they seek more opportunities for a flexible workplace. In 2021, it’s more likely that we can expect a hybrid solution between in-office and virtual working. The best way to adopt these new norms, and prepare teams is to open the lines of communication and reduce the stigma of having conversations around what a flexible work-life looks like. By hearing the concerns of people and teams, managers can problem-solve on challenges and focus on what is working for the future.

Now that most of the year has passed, take time to ask your employees if they have the proper tools for their home office. Engage, and see how as a company you can support their work environments through stipends for speedy internet, office supplies (paper, pens), and proper furniture (i.e. lumber supported chairs). Offer reimbursements or deals on chairs and tables that could be used in the home.

Related: 4 Tips to Fight Employee Disengagement During the Holidays

These upcoming months are also a perfect time for individuals and families to find ways to give back to the community and volunteer. Ask if your teams are interested in volunteering for the holidays and help source virtual or in-person events they can attend. Volunteering has been shown to increase a sense of purpose and fulfillment. You could also volunteer together as a team, to continue to build outside work relationships and connection. For example, our team had recently come together and wrote encouraging messages to seniors online. We were able to give back, while catching up with people on our lives outside of work.

And lastly, take this opportunity to reflect with your teams. Evaluate the office tools that have worked or ones that would be nice to have. This could be anything from virtual conferencing tools to online collaboration services. In addition, evaluate team communication and whether there needs to be changes or if things are working smoothly. Ask how people believe this last year went, and what they expect to happen in 2021. Encourage and support their views and show grace when at all possible. 2020 has been difficult, and this holiday is a great time to take time to breathe and recharge together.

By: Brenda Pak Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer

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