The Power of Words
Take Action for Change at Work
Feeling Limited? If you work for a micro-management style company, if your every move is constrained by policy, if you work for managers who are control focused rather than acting as leaders and coaches, or, if you work for people who want to knock you down instead of build you up, the first point to recognise is that you are choosing to be there. In this acceptance, you reclaim a little of your power and can then assess the limitation situation.The fact is that we cannot change people. If we don’t change then nothing will change.
Consider this: Is everyone else feeling limited, or is it just you?
This feeling of limitation is happening to you and therefore, it is about you, it is not about the company or the management. So, Ask yourself, what is not acceptable this limitation?
I was working with a client on this very topic and her response to me was something like this:
‘You know, I really want to be in the management position. I can see so many opportunities to create a really positive environment, and I have thought about how we can develop the business and increase profits. But, I feel like I don’t have any opportunities to demonstrate my skills or share my suggestions. I could work for another company, but I really know this company now and I would love to be part of the development process. I have made some good friends here and feel part of it. I want to grow.
In that final comment, the reason for her feeling of limitation was clear. Once she recognised the true nature of her own feelings, she was able to address the matter, and make plans to take action for change.
Bullied? Is there someone at work who tries to bully you with their words or behaviours? If so, you can choose to accept it or choose not to accept it, in which case, to do something about it. The chances are, the most likely obstacle to doing something about it is fear. The knock downs and bully behaviour are about them, and their insecurities, but the fear is yours. You cannot change people. You can set set boundaries and ask for change.
Ask yourself, what is this fear about?
Another client was a manager of in a medical clinic. She believed that she did her job well, and was popular with her team and the patients. However, the director would frequently highlight anything negative she could find about my client. When asked to perform certain tasks that my client carried out with great efficiency, she would later be told she had done the wrong task, and be shouted at for doing things wrong. Even though she got in the habit of double-checking and writing down everything her director asked, she would be told she had written things down wrong. Her job was frequently threatened and she was beginning to feel anxious about going to work, because no matter what she did, she knew she could not win. My client loved her job with the patients, and it was the only availability in her home town. She really wanted to stay.
So I asked her: ‘What is the fear about?’
Once we worked through the fears, my client was able to recognise that what she feared the most would most likely not happen: if her boss was going to fire her, she would have done so by now.
This was when she made a decision to confront her director. The next time she felt bullied, she told this lady that her behaviour was not acceptable, that she felt bullied and that she wanted this to stop. The director was outraged and highlighted how grateful my client should be for the job opportunity and how lucky she was to be so well paid. However, the bullying behaviour stopped, my client felt empowered and better able to manage the bullies in her life, and some of her other fears. Three months later she handed in her resignation, leaving not in fear, but with courage and determination to take action for change in developing more positive energies in her life.
Not Enough Time?
The ‘inbox’ is over flowing, the ‘to-list’ is infinite, and people keep asking you to do more. The external picture looks hectic and overwhelming. If nothing changes, people will keep asking, the list will keep growing and the inbox will keep overflowing. The influx is about the environment and other people, but the reason it is continuing to happen is about you.
Ask yourself, what is it about asking for your needs to be met that is stopping you from asking for what you need?
When I asked a client what would happen if he said ‘no’, he gave me a rather awkward look and told me that his boss is a woman. I asked what this meant to him. He said that it reminded him of not being able to say ‘no’ to his demanding mother. I asked him if he went to work as an adult professional, or as the son of his boss? He quickly realized that he was indeed acting out his child state and needed to shift his own behaviour. One recognition of this, he was able to take action to change, as a result, his boss changed the way she spoke to him. Once this relationship dynamic had shifted, my client felt more in his power and able to ask for what he needed to manage the overwhelming admin. His boss however did not see eye to eye and my client returned feeling frustrated and angry about his position.
When I asked him why he felt frustrated and angry, he said he felt unable to do anything well, and is always behind.
I asked: 'If you were the manager, what would you have done differently?'
My client put himself in the shoes of his boss, and in doing realized, it was not an easy situation to change, and that employing someone else to help may be a cost they could not afford. It also became clear that no one every complained about his lack of skill or being behind, indeed, he started to see they needed him and that he really was doing his best. He just wasn’t living up to his own unrealistic standards. Soon, he was able to accept the situation, he started to feel better about his role in making the business function, and he started going to work feeling much happier. It was okay that they was not enough time in the day, he was doing his best and that was okay, and everyone was else was in the same boat.. With this, he took action to change the way he pressured himself, and is enjoy his job more now.