Whew! I think we can all safely say that the past few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind with the US Presidential and Congressional Elections, COVID19 updates, educational format changes for our children and the list goes on…it seems like we’re living in a storm, but today, I want to teach you how to take cover in the peaceful eye of the hurricane.
With all of these external factors that I mentioned above that are, to a large degree, outside of any one individual’s ultimate control, you likely are finding that people are more on edge, short-tempered, even rude to the point of being obnoxious, yet you and I still have to show up at work refreshed, prepared and good-spirited to steer our ships onward to safety.
That should not be so difficult for amazing professionals such as yourselves under normal circumstances, but today’s environment is anything but normal. Perhaps recently you might have taken the brunt of someone’s anger, frustration or impatience on the road in traffic, in the boardroom or on a Zoom meeting. If so, I’m sorry for that.
I do want to offer some coping mechanisms for you today so that you can keep right on doing what you need to do and keep your sanity in the process! Okay, so here are a few simple, but helpful tips that really work when people are not being kind at work:
1. Take the high road. I learned a long time ago that it is not good to give another person control over my emotions. If they are acting like (excuse my expression) a jerk, then I have a choice as to how I respond. I don’t have to let them get me angry. I can choose to either ignore them or blast them with a full smile from ear to ear! That usually throws them off guard. It allows others to see your professionalism in stark contract to their childish behavior and let’s you keep your positive attitude while they vere off the road.
My grandmother used to say, “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” In other words, repaying evil for evil, tit for tat, when another person is being unprofessional or just plain mean is not a license for us to act in the same way. Everybody has a bad day once in while and you never know what people are going through. A little compassion and forgiveness go a long way.
2. Remove yourself from the situation. Who says you have to stay put while another person is being rude or offensive? You may need to “get out of Dodge” when the sparks start flying! If you’re interacting in person, this may look like excusing yourself to the restroom or tabling the conversation. Meeting virtually or conversing on social media? You can mute the conversation, exit the chat group or stop the commenting. You might be tempted to hang up on a phone call, but I suggest letting the person know that the conversation is not going in a healthy or productive route and you can continue the call when they’re in a better frame of mind.
3. Take a break and breathe. I get stressed. We all do, but I cannot allow myself to take that out on those around me. I try not to anyway. I know my own “buttons” and stress points. You will often experience bio indicators that you are becoming upset. Your voice tone and pitch may increase. You might use short sentences and become argumentative or your breathing rate may increase. When I feel them being pushed, I pause. I literally stop what I’m doing and consciously and intentionally lower my voice, slow my breathing and may even go to another room or office to get my mind off of the immediate issue or confrontation.
We’re used to going so fast and getting things done, but today’s world is moving at an unhealthy pace in the outer bands of a social hurricane and if we’re not careful, we can get flung around and badly damaged or hurt others like coworkers, clients, and even family and friends. We don’t want that to happen.
I know these tips sound simple, but can be a challenge to implement at first, but I know you can do it. I know, because I’ve tried the things myself and I am a bona fide witness that they work for anybody! When the storms of life are raging all around, you can take shelter in the eye of the storm, and remember…nothing, not even a storm like the kind we are in now, lasts always. This too shall pass!
Have a great day and an awesome weekend! If I can help to coach you or anyone on your team during these unprecedented times and help you meet goals in 2021, just reach out to me. I’ll be there for you!