Tag Archives: workplace

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workplace headache

Workplace Headache and Other Ailments

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Do you have a workplace headache? Is there something or someone gnawing at you?

We’ve heard somebody say it, “I have a migraine.” Migraines are no joke and could be a serious condition.

Metaphorically, are there some pains around your workplace?

Beyond Control

Any time we have people working together we’re going to have different personalities, different values, ideas, and beliefs. There will always be different ways to approach problems and different moods depending on what is happening in our lives.

In addition to the interpersonal circumstances we’ll also probably have work we like to do, and work we despise doing.

We know there will be good days and bad days.

Can you control your situation? In some cases, probably, yes. In other cases, probably not so much.

We can’t do much about the traffic jam, the road construction, or a traffic accident.

Pouring rain, bright sunshine, high temperatures or freezing cold. No wind, light wind, or whipping wind, nothing we can really do.

The personalities of our valued customers or coworkers, they are beyond our control.

Workplace Headache

If we choose to allow it, we have a lot of workplace ailments. Personalities, values, and attitudes, not much we can do unless it is our job to help others with their behaviors.

We can choose to not let a traffic jam, bad weather, or different personalities ruin our chance at productivity.

There is a job to do, either way. What happens next is based on our own decisions.

We can choose to acknowledge our headaches, or move forward perhaps forgetting that we have them.

-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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compelling workplace opportunities

Creating Compelling Workplace Opportunities

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Are the employee teams at your workplace motivated? Would you describe their behavior as energized, engaged, and passionate? What are you doing to create compelling workplace opportunities?

One common truth is, not everyone is motivated in the same manner. Their interests, values, and beliefs may spark engagement, or may have them heading for the door.

What are the attraction points in your workplace? What gets people engaged and moving?

It won’t take long for the idea of money to arouse attention. Certainly, inspirational stories sometimes have value. What will really stick?

Compelling Workplace Opportunities

Here are a few simple things to think about:

Appreciation. It is really this simple, people don’t like to be criticized. Observe what they are working hard at, when they are trying their best, and show more appreciation.

Accomplishment. Sometimes people are inspired by finishing the job. Have you ever said, “That’s a good job done.” Many people take pride in finishing, it is an accomplishment.

Problem Solving. Although connected to a pro and a con, problem solving is a great skill to possess. Be cautious of being overly critical as you point out problems (con), yet at the same time effectively utilize the people who love to solve them (pro).

Change. Some people are motivated for change, others shutter at the whisper of the word. The truth is that some people really don’t like risk, while others thrive on it. Find balance in the energy of risk. Help teams actualize the vision.

Competition. Comparisons can sometimes feel depressing, yet competition will often spark motivation. Manage observations of competition by starting with competing against your own past performance, then work up to surpassing the competition.

Be More Compelling

Compelling is always better than force or fear. Yes, you can force people into action by causing fear, however, force and fear won’t help you with the long-run game.

Yes, accountability matters and it is sometimes the missing link. Keep in mind though, pull is better than push.

Are you in this for the short-run or the long-run?

-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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simple workplace knowledge

Simple Workplace Knowledge May Work

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Do you already know all of the key points to navigating challenging obstacles? Are you delivering on simple workplace knowledge?

In the meeting, the seminar, or while reading a book do you have a feeling that the information is really simple?

I already know all that stuff.

Oh, I’ve heard this before.

This is really just basic stuff.

The more experience we have, sometimes the more we disregard the basics.

It is easy to slip away from good ideas. Good ideas mean change. A change in style, actions, or behaviors. Something repeated, habits.

Examining Results

We can measure things that happen in our workplace, yet what actions are taken after reviewing the results?

Measuring performance may be step one. What about step two or three?

Are you congratulating results and launching the next stretch goal or are you inquiring about why things came up short?

Simple Workplace Knowledge

Accountability matters, are employee teams held accountable? It is easy to praise when expectations are exceeded. It is also easy to walk away from shortcomings without addressing corrective actions.

Maybe it is time to stop assessing what you know and start assessing what you do? Knowing what to do and when is valuable. Doing nothing ensures that it really doesn’t matter.

Don’t tell yourself, “I already know all this stuff.”

Ask yourself, “What do I practice?”

Challenge of Leadership

Identifying problems or trouble spots is often easy. Getting to the root cause and solving them is more challenging.

It is also easy to forget the role of leadership is not only to solve problems. The role of leadership includes building effective teams, creating motivation and engagement, and showing appreciation.

Keep in mind, the challenge of leadership is not always about knowledge or what you know. The challenge of leadership is often about what you do.

-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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building workplace interest

Building Workplace Interest and Engagement

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Are you seeking more engagement from your workplace teams? Are you building workplace interest or just rolling through each day?

Things only roll one way, downhill.

Choice of Engagement

Looking at my well used desktop keyboard, I notice that many keys are polished, some even missing the letter representation. Yet there is an entire row of shortcut keys that I have never touched.

Recently, I drove a friend to lunch. He complimented my car. I mentioned that it is just short of ten years old. He thought it was newer. Later I realized that in nearly ten years I’ve never explored all the electronic features.

There are millions of groups on social media channels. Business or pleasure, hobbies or special interests, yet millions of users never engage.

Some people never take public transportation. Some never go to the visitor attractions in their own town.

Why?

Engagement at Work

In the workplace we have similar attention challenges. There is talk about change, what will work better, and how to have less waste.

Yet, many will never engage.

They’ll never touch the shortcut keys, they’ll never check out all the features, and they’ll never get involved in optional groups.

Building Workplace Interest

Workplace leaders often try to push. They use polite forms of force to apply pressure for engagement. Backs turned, there is often little or no interest in doing anything new or different.

The challenge does not involve pushing harder. The challenge is creating a compelling environment where the people are pulled. When you gain more true followers there is more reason to join the movement.

The word spreads. The features work, they make life easier, and the engagement keeps paying off.

Engagement by force is a short-run game.

Building more interest feels harder than applying force. It requires careful thought, effort, and transparency. The risk is different, bad ideas don’t sell.

Illustrating why is much more powerful than commanding why.

-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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workplace favors

Asking For Workplace Favors Has Limitations

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Have you ever needed a hand? Have you asked for help or asked an employee to do something appropriately professional, yet not in their job description? Do you believe that asking for workplace favors has limitations?

You probably should.

Wells Run Dry

A free drink refill at your favorite restaurant may not be a bottomless opportunity.

Asking your neighbor to hold the garage door while you install a new screw isn’t acceptable every day.

Expecting employees to work late or come in on their scheduled day off should be something less than the norm.

Sometimes, enough is enough. There probably are limitations.

The limitations that guide us are based on our expectations. The measurement that guides the expectation is often based on our individual values and beliefs.

Hence the story, “I walked 10 miles, uphill, in the snow, to school when I was a kid. Both ways!”

Society has insisted on showing us that values and beliefs are not universal.

Workplace Favors

There are plenty of fully performing employees who just want to work their shift and go home. If you are in a leadership role in the organization you may desire to work extra hours, even when you’re salaried. That doesn’t always mean that your expectation should be the same for others.

There is a race to the top and a race to the bottom. Expecting the performance and beliefs that propelled you up the ladder to be delivered by the average fully performing employee may be a big mistake.

Delivering on respect and being committed to workplace relationships are vital competences for today’s leader. They guide the organizational culture.

Going to the well too many times is never a good idea. A race to the bottom often starts as the well begins to run dry.

Don’t expect too many favors.

-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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workplace conflict

Under The Covers of Workplace Conflict

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Is there conflict in your organization? Do you always recognize workplace conflict? Sometimes conflict is hidden or existing underground.

There are a few basics about conflict.

Conflict Basics

The first is that conflict is a natural part of people working together. Anytime you have two or more persons actively engaged in workplace activities, you’ll likely face some conflict.

Also, conflict can often be determined to be bad or good, okay or harmful, based on how it is managed. Mismanaged conflict is typically noted as bad conflict.

A final point about conflict is that avoidance of managing conflict will often result in more harmful conflict.

Resolutions to conflict or minimizing any harmful effects is not a one size fits all approach. Different types or styles of conflict may require different approaches.

One of the most challenging aspects of conflict is recognizing it in all its various forms.

It is common that workplace leaders often misunderstand the dynamics of conflict. Sometimes this is denial, “No, our teams are doing great. We had some conflict issues a while ago but not recently.”

Workplace Conflict

Many people believe that conflict arises when there is organizational change, modifications to policies, rules, and guidelines. This is a great time for conflict to emerge, but it may also not always be so apparent.

From my experiences conflict that is under the covers (not easily visible) occurs in two scenarios.

The first is when there is fear of being removed from the team if you speak of conflict. It is the shoot-the-messenger concept. Don’t speak of conflict or you will be blacklisted or fired.

The second often follows the first and that is that some employees really like the drama. Conflict exposed is not as dramatic as conflict behind the bosses back.

Do you have workplace conflict? If you have two or more people working together you probably do.

Are you prepared to effectively manage it?

-DEG

Need some help with learning to manage workplace conflict? Please reach out.

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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fifty percent

Fifty Percent, More or Less, and the Workplace Critic

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We often fear what the critic will say, yet it seems that the critic really shouldn’t matter. George W. Bush and Barack Obama, both Presidents of the United States, both roughly had only about fifty percent approval ratings while in office.

What is your approval rating?

Approval Rating

When you work on the project, help the boss, or give a presentation to the board of directors, what is your approval rating?

Many employees tell me about the disappointment they face when receiving feedback from their boss. They suggest that the boss stresses the shortcomings, missed opportunities, or rework required – what they’ve done wrong. Yet, these setbacks, let downs, or failures, only represent about five percent or less of their total contribution.

Has the boss placed an inappropriate focus on the problems? Has the employee exaggerated about the amount of emphasis placed on shortcomings?

If we perform above expectations for ninety-five percent of our work, yet our conversations are eighty percent about the shortcomings what is the result?

It may be easy to get caught up in a downward spiral.

Fifty Percent

Perhaps the better question to ask is related to the quantity of critics. Most successful employees have an approval rating of far more than fifty percent.

What is your approval rating?

We can’t allow ourselves to get stuck on the comments of our critics.

Yes, they are always out there. Often lurking, watching, and waiting for a time to express their dissatisfaction, their anger, or even their jealousy and envy.

Yes, our boss may have some performance improvement feedback for us. Can you turn that into something constructive?

Critics may have a voice, yet they only control the next outcome if you allow them to do so.

Don’t let the critic become your inner voice.

-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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workplace success

What Do You Know About Workplace Success?

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How would you describe success? Does everyone describe it the same way? Workplace success may be as individual as soda, pop, or cola.

Communicating in your workplace has its share of challenges. We are all experiencing things like too much, too little, and misunderstood communication.

Are the words you use effective?

Choose Wisely

We use words to communicate meaning, yet there are times when we blur those lines.

Someone says, “I need a pencil.” Then someone hands them a pen.

“I’m stopping for coffee.” May be as different as hot and black is to
mocha caffe latte, iced.

Most people wouldn’t dare to think about wearing (only) underwear on the beach. (I know I wouldn’t.) Yet, a bikini seems just fine. There seems to be something visually different, is there?

We use words to convey meaning. When we are thinking about the meaning of workplace success, there is more than one meaning.

Workplace Success

Success, respect, and good, all depend on your individual definition. We attempt to use the words to convey meaning, yet the image in everyone’s mind may differ.

Prepare for the meeting.

Arrive early.

Make sure you do it right.

We think communication is easy. We talk, we write, someone listens, and someone reads.

All our words, phrases, and especially our body language and tone matter.

When you suggest that your team should engage and communicate to create more success what is the meaning?

Success for some people is about a position, a title, or their paycheck. Still there are others that view success as the completion of a task, a reached milestone, or appreciation from the boss.

Sometimes the difference between what you want and what you get is based on the words you chose.

Define success. Do it carefully, descriptively, and with the correct image.

-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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heart work

Heart Work Makes a Difference

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Are you putting in heart work? This is what we do when we are honest, sincere, and work from our heart. Some may say, authentic.

At first you may have wondered if “heart work” was a typo. No, it is not a typo.

In the late 1980’s, I used a piece of scotch tape to adhere a little quote cut from a magazine to the side of my amber computer monitor. Although I don’t know who deserves the credit, the quote was something like this, “Be honest and work from your heart, when you love what you do, you’ll do a good job.”

I’ve never forgotten it.

Heart Work

Working from your heart makes a difference. It feels different to you and it looks, feels, and sounds different to your coworkers.

Recently, at the end of a speaking engagement an audience member asked me, “How do you recommend engaging people in your workplace for a change that they may not agree with?”

My immediate answer was, “You have to be compelling.”

I continued for a few minutes to describe that when you are behind something that you believe in and you’ve done your homework on the topic, it is easy to be compelling.

You believe it, you trust it, and it shows.

Fundamental Habits

This is a fundamental principle, at least for me. I believe this ignites a compelling message. When you memorize a response (different from homework) or strategize in advance for the perfect response, it sounds as it is, rehearsed.

As the years go by in my career, I’ve developed a deeper appreciation for authenticity.

What about you? Are you doing the heart work?

-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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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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