How do you keep your cool and still stand up for yourself in the midst of infuriating workplace circumstances or colleagues? Here’s how…
What gets you riled up at work?
I conducted an informal survey awhile back on this topic. I’ll list some of the most common answers below, but (warning!) make sure to take deep breaths as you read or you might blow a gasket. I’m willing to bet at least one scenario on the list will feel painfully familiar:
· Double standards
· Lack of appreciation when you go above and beyond
· Disrespectful words and behavior from clients or coworkers
· Being left out of the loop
· Laziness or ineptitude that creates more work for you
· Lack of fairness and equality
· Hurtful politicking, rumors, and gossip
· Arrogance from egomaniacs and know-it-alls
· Someone else getting credit for your work or ideas
These situations (or maybe it’s the people?) can create epic emotional responses. What are you supposed to do when it feels like a volcano of rage is about to erupt?
Somehow, we developed the idea that being professional means that the workplace should be an emotion-free zone. No feelings allowed! Unless, of course, they’re positive ones. “Good” feelings — happiness, excitement, confidence, optimism, satisfaction — are welcome and encouraged. Every day is Bring Your Positivity to Work Day!
Yet real life is messy, primarily because it is replete with imperfect human beings. Like me. And you. You bump into another’s imperfections (or your own) and it hurts. And makes you mad! So then what? Do you stuff your anger and pretend you’re fine when you’re not? Let it spew out onto everyone around you? Both of those extremes eventually create toxic work environments. In the first scenario, you have a dishonest culture of forced positivity where everyone walks around on eggshells and difficult, yet necessary, conversations never happen; in the second, you have adult-sized temper tantrums and, potentially, verbal or emotional abuse. Both are terrible for productivity and even worse for morale.