Tag Archives: emotional labor

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workplace toughness

Workplace Toughness, Do You Have Enough?

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Are you tough enough to take it? Let’s be clear, almost any job can be a challenge from time-to-time. Workplace toughness will help carry you through, but only if you’re up for it.

I’ve written often about Emotional Labor. In my travels, speaking and providing training to lots of different people in many different sectors, I see some common themes. One is, Emotional Labor is required for every job.

Secondary to Emotional Labor is mastering the art of emotional self-control.

This is important during the good times, and it is especially critical during the tough times.

Workplace Toughness

Emotional self-control has many different requirements. The first thought is often of managing your anger. In any role, leadership, or otherwise, you’re going to have to harness and practice emotional self-control.

When a direct report doesn’t achieve the required expectations and a customer is let down. When a direct report challenges you or your decisions. And, of course, we can’t omit mentioning tough customer requirements, sloppy vendors, or even the board of directors.

Emotional self-control is not always about anger or upset. It may be about the ability to hold back a laugh or other types of emotional displays.

Leadership sometimes seems easy, yet only a few of the best rise to the top of the high-performance scale. It may take years of practice to master emotional self-control.

Label it biting your tongue, sucking it up, or toughing it out.

There is a phrase, “A smooth sea never made a good sailor.”

You’re a better leader when you’ve mastered workplace toughness.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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little more

Humpfrey, Can You Do Just a Little More?

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Career minded people are trying to change. They want to achieve something better, greater, and more robust. The true love comes from what they do, what they become, and the good things that follow. Can you do a little more? Will you?

It is common that people in the workplace feel dumped on, piled on, and burnt out.

Camel Syndrome

Dumped on and piled on, you feel like a camel. Standing, waiting, looking over your shoulder. You see someone lingering with just one piece of straw, eager to throw it on someone’s back. Will it be yours?

It is difficult to dump the metaphoric load. The emotional labor required grows. No straws seem to fall off your back, just more piling on.

Carrying the load is often intensified because we relive that feeling. Even if the load is gone, we’re still carrying it. Worse yet, we feel compelled to share the story. We relive it once again, giving some burden to another weary traveler.

Big Loads

Of course, it is possible you’re carrying a big load. Perhaps the biggest load you’ve ever carried. It isn’t a test. It is reality.

Yet, another straw is hovering just above your shoulders waiting to drop.

If you want to make a difference for your career you are lucky then. You’re lucky that you have the opportunity to carry more.

It will show your strength. Your ability to overcome adversity and eliminate any perceived weakness.

A Little More

You should ask yourself, “Can I do a little more?” Can you push through the emotional labor? Will you find a way to be more responsive, more caring, and more patient?

Can you find the strength for one more straw?

Here is the thing, that one more, it makes you different, better.

If the journey is going to be tough the weakest camel is never selected.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Discipline leads

Why Discipline Leads To Change

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Are you disciplined? Do you do things when you don’t really want to, when it is not ideal, or when it feels like you have no energy? Do you believe discipline leads to change?

Being committed, being disciplined in your approach will nearly always lead to change.

Saying no to the chocolate cake.

Going for a run even though it is raining.

Working extra hours to finish the job on time.

All of these are leading to change. What does it all mean?

Meaningful Change

It means that when you don’t want to work on the spreadsheet, but you still do, the work gets finished. That’s change.

It could also mean that when you don’t want to have a conversation about the project, but you do, the outcomes become clearer. That’s change.

Perhaps when you want to speak out, strike out, or quit, but you don’t, the collaboration becomes easier and the work of the few is more powerful than the work of the one.

All of this is change, it’s showing you the value of discipline. It means you’re taking a different approach. It means that you’re putting in the emotional labor to get the results. Could it be that the bottom line will also improve?

Discipline Leads

The power of discipline is often underestimated. Discipline transforms from the power of the push, to the power of the pull. It makes the work a compelling argument, not one to be avoided. No more push, all pull.

Discipline and commitment are attractive. Attraction breeds more community and engagement. In a connection economy you couldn’t ask for more.

When was the last time you were tested for discipline? When were your buttons pushed? What about your energy, do you have the emotional stamina to work beyond adversity? Will you feel the pull?

The next time you absolutely don’t want to do something think about what will change. If it will create a positive impact find the discipline and you’ll see the change.

You’ll pull through.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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different personalities

Different Personalities Require Emotional Labor

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Working with different personalities can feel like a strain. It is true of all workplaces. Sometimes it is a peer, sometimes a boss, and as a supervisor it can be working with a direct report. Do you struggle with one or more different personalities?

Important Factors

First, and perhaps most importantly, you are not alone. If you feel like there are not any different personalities across the team, you may be the one who is different.

Another important factor to keep in mind is that you likely won’t change the behavior of others. What you can change is your reactions to behaviors that cause you to personally struggle.

We often call the emotional moans, groans, and strains of difficultly in the workplace, emotional labor. It is the work that you don’t want to do, but you must do, or it is the work that requires you to reach outside of your comfort zone.

Chances are good that in one form or another, you own some of the difficulty with navigating various personalities in your workplace.

How So?

For example, some people feel taken advantage of with performing the tasks and duties that are others responsibility. When you look at the evolution of how that happened it is often because the person became a crutch for someone else.

Certainly, teamwork and pitching in are valuable and appropriate, but nearly always there will be someone who will consciously or subconsciously begin to expect you’ll pick up the pieces in the future.

You can ask the other person to change. Good luck. A better alternative is to change the way you react to daily scenarios with this person.

Free yourself from being the crutch and things will change. Of course, with that said, the person who has been relying on you as a crutch will likely have some complaints that you will have to resolve.

Different Personalities

Many experts identify between about six to ten different personality categories in the workplace. What becomes more interesting is that there often is a blending of two or more of these traits with any individual.

Prepare yourself, you’ll have to put in some additional emotional labor. You’ll need to be accountable to yourself to make changes that aren’t comfortable. Short term pain for long-term gain.

If you don’t make changes, the constant drain can bring you and others down. Don’t be the victim.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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using empathy

Leadership Habit 35: Using Empathy

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It seems that most people are promoted in organizations because they’ve shown strong technical skills. They have impressed the CEO with their knowledge and comprehension of business requirements. Are they effectively using empathy?

Technical Expertise

Technical skills are important. The newsflash is, they are not everything. One of the hardest things for emerging workplace leaders is understanding the soft skills side of leadership.

Workplace success typically happens for the most well-rounded people. Certainly, some will cite that playing politics, having friends in the right places, and even gender will play a role. True, they may all be factors, but long-term leadership success needs empathy.

Technical skills won’t take you very far when no one respects the work. Things may implode when no one understands the values, the hardships, and the beliefs required to carry on when everyone wants to quit.

Power of Empathy

Often the hardest skill for the workplace leader is to understand and develop the power of empathy. It is often disregarded as not needed, too soft, or not logical and therefore not required.

In some circles it is common to hear, “Remove the emotion!” And every time a person in a leadership role says that they have just moved one notch farther away from a team who has passion.

Certainly, there are times when decisions must be made that are difficult. They tug at the emotional values of those involved but removing emotion from any organization may be a step in the wrong direction.

Using Empathy

So, it is really the emotional labor that leaders sometimes need to master. They are seldom chosen, at least not consciously, for this skill, but great leaders have it covered.

Engaged teams are running on emotion. Emotion has a lot to do with empathy. When we feel the mechanics of the job are covered what remains?

Using empathy is often challenging, it can’t be delegated, and the emotional labor involved will require patience and energy.

As a leader, using empathy is required. Your team needs it.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten RespectNavigating a Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Best Work

Your Best Work, Working Hard, and What Is Missing

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Employees often feel that they are delivering on their promise. A promise to provide the best value to their organization. Are you doing your best work? Is your best work enough?

Trying your best is important. It has something to do with integrity. Trying your best though may not always be enough. At least, it may not be enough of the right stuff.

Technical Aspects

Knowing how to do a spreadsheet in Excel, how to spec the right materials at the best price, or how to manage the financial responsibilities are all important.

The web designer needs to know code and trends. Warehouse managers need to know storage solutions, traffic efficiencies, and even robotics. Marketing and advertising leaders should know the digital environment, how to leverage it, and how to evaluate the ROI.

All these things are important and are perhaps technical. You may be doing all these things, but you still seem to be coming up short of the promotion, the job advancement, and career path you desire.

What are you missing?

Emotional Labor

In today’s workplace environment doing your best work is not the same as filling in all the spaces on the form, checking the boxes, and signing your name.

In my experiences I find people every day who can do all those things and still wonder why they are stuck.

Certainly, there are varied reasons and sometimes people are not at the right place at the right time. In many other cases, what is missing is the emotional labor that goes along with every job.

Best Work

Organizations want to hire people who fit in. They have a hundred or more resumes of people who fit the technical specifications. Who is the one person who will fit the best?

Often it is not about your technical skills, you’ve checked all the boxes, your card is punched. Perhaps you should consider all the soft skills required.

How you communicate, overcome adversity, navigate generations, and your emotional intelligence is all part of your job.

It may not be a check box on your job description, but it may mean that you are the best fit.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect,Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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emotional labor strength

Emotional Labor Strength and Doing Whatever It Takes

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If you were self-assessing, would you indicate that you have emotional labor strength, or is it really one of your weaknesses? Do you procrastinate about your workload, to-do list, or visiting your in-laws?

Are you able to jump to attention at the slightest whimper from your boss? Perhaps you would rather put off that task until you really feel like doing it. Are you really committed to doing whatever it takes, or only when it fits your personal agenda?

Is Easy Better?

A traditional or baby boomer boss may suggest people are lazy. They may suggest that the younger half of the workforce will avoid the tough stuff, or avoid things that annoy them.

Instead of making the follow-up call, they’ll send an email. Instead of responding to an email or voice mail they’ll do nothing. Spending time with the customer, well, that is out too. It is all just too hard.

In customer service circles a lack of emotional labor strength may be mislabeled as a lack of caring. Is it really a lack of caring or is it just too disruptive to the flow of doing little or nothing.

Caring will cost. It costs in hard resources like money and people, and it costs in emotional labor. When people are required to think, be patient, have empathy, be farsighted, encouraging, and do whatever it takes, we may discover who really has emotional labor strength.

Emotional Labor Strength

Waiting until the last minute is not a skill. Broken promises are not someone else’s fault.

Effort should be at one hundred percent and should never be considered as scalable based on the rate of pay.

Doing whatever it takes is what emotional labor strength is often about.

Laziness, procrastination, or putting it off forever isn’t strength, it is a weakness.

Regardless of whether it is about customer-service skills, getting along with co-workers, being flexible, adaptable, staying late, or coming in early, your level of emotional labor strength is what sets you apart.

If you’re wondering about individual work ethic, you’ve either found it, or not.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Emotional labor matters

Why Emotional Labor Matters More

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The daily grind, the grit and effort it takes to go to work every day, to exist in the World of workplace politics, the boss’s pets, and a paycheck every other week. It is what millions of people feel about their job, it is laborious. Do you think emotional labor matters?

Frequent Questions

Many people have great jobs. Many people take for granted what their daily grind provides. Actually, that emotional labor that they are putting in, that is what will matter the most.

What high school did you attend?

Where did you get your degree?

Did you get your degree online?

The questions all appear to matter and they are the essence of the job applicant, the hiring committee, or the card puncher. What may really matter the most is if you have put in the emotional labor.

Attitude, Determination, and Persistence

Emotional labor answers the questions about your attitude towards work, your discipline across the long haul, and your ability to navigate shifting environments.

The questions that really need answered are more about what you’ve accomplished. How do you face adversity? What projects or teams have you led? What is your decision making style? How would you describe your level of integrity? How do you plan for the unplanned?

The online job application and your resume don’t often speak to what you are really capable of doing. The weight of who you are, your strength, determination, and the associated outcomes are not about a piece of paper, or your digital application.

Getting to the door and having it open often comes from your resume or curriculum vitae, but that is just a paper trail.

Emotional Labor Matters

What matters more is the illustration of your emotional labor. That will be the best determinate of your future success.

When people ask my opinion about what will happen next with an employee, a boss, or their significant other, I usually suggest that the best predictor of future performance is past performance.

Put in the emotional labor, it matters more.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Emotional Labor

What is Emotional Labor and Does It Matter?

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Are you tired of doing things that you really don’t want to do? Have you been patient with your career goals and are now growing weary of putting in the time? You may still have some emotional labor to endure.

Enduring the Work

The boss asks you to follow up on the delinquent accounts, but you suggest you don’t have time.

A project team member asks how the work is coming with your assigned task after the meeting last week, but you say you didn’t get to it yet.

Unfortunately, it is common that people drag their feet about projects or work that they aren’t really interested in doing.

Ask the mechanic if he wants to do an oil change on the eight year old minivan.

Ask the mechanic if he wants to do an oil change on the hottest model with the big engine.

Do you think the mechanic would spring into action for both of those scenarios or just one?

Many employees feel like they are asked to pick up the pieces for work that is not that desirable. It is common for people to feel like their career has stalled, that they have put in the time, and now they want more.

Emotional Labor

Emotional labor is a condition that exists when we are putting in the time. It is doing the dirty work, the crappy jobs, and picking up the pieces for others. It may be doing things we find boring, monotonous, or below our pay grade.

Have you been putting in the required amounts of emotional labor?

If there is one thing that every employee can do to make a difference for their career it is putting in large quantities of emotional labor. Certainly, no one wants to be taken advantage of and no one wants to do work that they have advanced beyond.

However, the best employees are putting in a lot of it. It requires the persistence, discipline, and grit to get it done, and they do it.

The employee may easily forget about emotional labor, but the boss usually remembers it.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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improve job performance

How To Improve Job Performance And Competence

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It often feels like you are doing everything. You do exactly what the boss suggests, you follow the rules, and work within the guidelines. Is it enough? Chances are good that you still have room to improve job performance.

Mechanics of the Job

Many employees connect mechanically. Which really means that they are in compliance with the characteristics of the job task. Many would suggest that they have the competence to do the work.

She enters the orders fast and with accuracy.

He always jumps right in and gets things done.

She can answer any question about our policies and procedures.

He is great with the computers.

She never leaves before wrapping up what needs done that day.

More Than Just A Task

What this really means is that they are competent with the job task. In today’s workplace, being competent mechanically is probably not all that is required. Putting the round peg in the round hole, the square peg in the square hole, and stuffing everything in a box to ship is really just mechanical.

Employees sometimes argue, “I can do everything required, why am I stuck in this position?” Often what they are missing is the ability to navigate the emotional labor requirements of the job.

She enters the orders fast and with accuracy, but don’t you dare interrupt her or she’ll snap.

He always jumps in and gets things done, but don’t ask for help in another department because that is not his problem.

She can answer any question, but you have to make sure she is in a good mood first.

He is great with computers but he always makes others feel bad by talking down to them when they don’t immediately understand.

She never leaves before finishing all her work, but she often makes mistakes in her rush to get things done.

Improve Job Performance

Being in compliance of what is required for the job task is important but today you have to put in the emotional labor too. Emotional labor may be having patience with others, the ability to navigate generational differences, or put the needs of the many in front of the needs of your own work.

Being able to dot the I’s and cross the T’s, is good. Skills to put the nut on the bolt, thread the needle, and hit the enter key are also important.

Today the best path to improve job performance isn’t always just about the mechanics, it is also about your emotional intelligence and the ability to put in the required amount of emotional labor.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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