Live and Lead for Impact with Kirsten E. Ross

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If you’ve been listening to this podcast you already know that I spend a lot of time helping people overcome their drama challenges.

Often drama between people boils down to a lack of trust. You can have little or no trust for someone based on your experience with them; they’ve proven with their words or actions that they should not be trusted. Or you can lack trust because you don’t know them.

Either way, when we don’t trust someone we are more apt to assume the worst or assign mal-intent to their actions.

Of course, a history of bad behavior warrants less trust. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. In businesses, however, I often find that lack of trust comes from a lack of knowing. Sometimes leaders don’t give their employees time to connect.   And this creates negative assumptions and drama!

Over the years I’ve had a unique perspective into so many relationships and can say with certainty that often these assumptions are not accurate. I would even hazard to say that rarely are the assumptions driving these negative relationships true.

When communication and connection happen trust can build quickly. Assumptions are replaced with facts and relationships are transformed.

I worked with a group of 4 people who knew little of each other personally but had to deal with each other often to complete their work. The company called me in because the poor relationships were decreasing productivity.

I spent exactly one and a half hours with them and it that time they had many aha moments. “Oh, I thought when you were asking me that you trying to pass your work on to me!”

“No, I’ve already tried 4 different times to get the numbers right by the time I’m asking you to clarify some things.”

“I thought you were just coming in early so that you could leave early and find things to complain about.”

“No, with the work changes I now have to come in early to get everything set up and do the inventory. I’d actually prefer not to start so early!”

On and on it went.   Gaps in fact filled in with negative presumptions overcome with truth.

Each had painted a picture of the other like a paint by number gone wrong. The little assumptions all added to a perception of co-workers trying to avoid work, get each other in trouble and wreak havoc. Recent changes in roles and workflow had put them all together feeling uncertain and wary.

They needed to work together but had had no opportunity to build trust.

I am very visual so I almost always end up describing concepts with physical items.

I started using the term Trust Bucket to describe the level of trust we have with others. It’s just a nice visual.

So, an empty trust bucket means little trust.

A full trust bucket is like a full bank account of trust.

A full trust bucket and we are assuming the best of each other. If my co-worker of 10 years is late and I have assigned a full trust bucket to her I will assume she got held up. An empty trust bucket and I’m assuming the worst. “He doesn’t value my time or is disrespecting me.”

I find that people assign empty or full trust buckets to new people in different ways.

Some people tend to start new relationships with a full trust bucket.   “I will trust you unless you give me good cause not to.” At that point, they will have an empty trust bucket.

Others are more cautious and begin relationships with an empty trust bucket. “I need to see who you are first. Prove that you deserve my trust. You have to earn it. Then I will fill the trust bucket.”

At work it is so important to bring employees together so they have an opportunity to know each other as people and fill those trust buckets!

Drama happens when trust buckets are low. As I often say, in the absence of fact, for some reason humans fill in the blanks with negative assumptions. A process falls apart and the first instinct is for employees to blame co-workers they don’t trust, “they’re just trying to make my job harder!”

Bring those employees together and give them the chance to know one another and trust will develop. They will assume the best of each other instead.

So, a few thoughts and action items for you today.

  1. How full are your trust buckets with people? Do you start with a full bucket and empty with negative experiences or do you start empty and make them work their way to trust?
  2. Are there people in your life or work with empty trust buckets out of assumption rather than fact? How can you get to know them to learn their true character?

  3. If you are a leader, where do team members have empty trust buckets? How can you bring them together to meet, connect and build trust?

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Direct download: DTD_093__How_Full_Are_Your_Trust_Buckets_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:53am EDT

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Most in the workforce are being asked to produce more and more. In the mean time technology has kept us connected 24/7. Co-workers and clients expect quick turn around for their questions or issues whether big or small. I’ve heard it more than once, “how can I get any work done when all I do is go to meetings and deal with issues!”

The reality is, you need uninterrupted time to focus to do your best work! Here are a few strategies that have worked well for my clients over the years:

  1. Pay attention to the interruptions. What do people need? Are there reoccurring questions? Create an FAQ or contact list. Let the past questions predict their future needs and provide the answers in another way. Get those answers out of your possession and accessible without your time.

  2. Inundated with emails? Ask coworkers to adopt a subject line phrases to clue you in on the contents.   Also ask that they include a deadline where appropriate. It will make prioritizing your emails much easier.
    1. FYI
    2. Deadline
    3. Decision
    4. Discussion

  3. Feel Like You are Always in Meetings? When you first started working it probably felt like a privilege to be included in a meeting. The farther you travel up the ladder the more your time is monopolized by them. Start asking what the purpose of the meeting is ahead of time. Do you really need to be there? Is there another way to get the update? Are the topics they will be discussing relevant to you? Do they need you for a decision? What value can you add? If you aren’t adding value or someone else can go in your place don’t go. Keep that time for more important things.

    If you’re the one calling the meeting listen to episode 91 if you haven’t already. Evaluate whether you need to keep having the meeting.

  4. Carve out Focus Time Each Week. Put it in your calendar and hold it sacred. Create some sort of visible cue for your co-workers to let them know they cannot interrupt you unless there is a true emergency. I’ve had clients make signs for their doors placed a flag on the side of a cubicle if they were working in an open work environment.
  5. Schedule Time for Emails and Voicemails: If possible answer emails and voicemails at certain times rather than letting it punctuate every moment of every day.   There are some roles that won’t lend themselves to this, I get it, but, if you can, check emails 2 or 3 times per day. You can let people know that that’s what you’ll be doing so they know not to expect an immediate response. Most people understand that you are doing it to create focus.
  6. Create specific office hours for ad hoc questions. If you’ve made yourself 100% convenient people will just pop in at all hours of the day with their questions. Often they are not urgent issues it’s just something they need to discuss. By creating office hours for questions and conversations you will train people to hold the non-urgent matters to those specific times. You’ll enjoy more focus time!

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Direct download: DTD_092__6_Strategies_to_Stop_Interruptions_and_Find_Your_Focus.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT

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Many of my clients struggle with the drama created by meetings. Either they have too few and there’s constant chaos. No one knows what’s going on, miscommunication is rampant, the world of assumption is thriving and none of the employees know or trust each other.

Or, they have too many meetings. They read a book or blog post once that said they should have a meeting once a week so they have it. They come up with an agenda last minute, struggle for content, hope people will go on tangents so the time will be filled up, spend lots of time complaining or eating cake but little time doing anything productive. The team grumbles about the waste of time or relishes the “free” time the ineffective meeting represents.

Do either of these sound familiar?

Meetings are essential! You just have to do them well. The key to a great meeting begins with its purpose. Never meet just to meet. Know the purpose so you can evaluate whether or not you need to have it. Some things you are doing in a meeting now could be done more effectively another way.

Here’s some motivation for you. Have you ever stopped to think about how much a meeting costs? Look around the room and estimate the hourly rate of each employee. Divide by 60 to get the rate per minute. Now multiply by the number of unproductive minutes. Yep, it’s costing you or your employer a pretty penny! And if they are causing drama that extends beyond the meeting it’s really a waste of money!

So, ready to evaluate your meetings now?

Look at the reason for the agenda item. I’m going to share a list of what I think are good reasons to meet…….at times. It’s not a 100% comprehensive list but I think it covers a lot of the most popular reasons for meeting. And your objective should drive the content, the feel, the flow, everything. A meeting can have several objectives. Just make sure they are clear to you and your participants.

  1. Connecting: you want employees to know one another as humans. Trust comes form time spent together. Time to connect and know one another is a great reason to have periodic meetings.

  2. Sharing information: you may need to have a meeting to share information but you might be able to share in a more efficient way. Often I find my clients are sharing basic information in a meeting as a way to hold assure they are receiving it so they can be held accountable. There are other ways to achieve the same objective. Send via email with a deadline for reading. Create a subject line that alerts them and put the deadline right there. Have them reply back or fill in a poll or initial a document once they’ve read it over and KNOW what’s there.

    If the information will require a Q & A period, extensive explanation, might be met with some push back then, yes, pull everyone together so that all hear the same facts and can benefit from the same Q & A.

  3. Decision making: this is a great reason to have a meeting if you need to negotiate, discuss, share perspectives. You can explore digital idea generation and opinion sharing but in person or digital meeting is usually a great way to go. Just make sure that the actual decision makers are in the meeting so you don’t have to rehash a conversation to make something happen.

  4. Creative Planning: if you need input, differing perspectives, idea generation I would call this a great way to spend time in a meeting. You get that added collective brain as people bounce ideas around. Whether your pulling together during a project or coming up with the next great product for your business, pulling the team together for this work is a great use of time. I just caution that you always want to end a generative discussion with a plan for action after. How will you assure some momentum forward. It’s fun to brainstorm but then make sure you do something with it. Who needs to make a decision or take some action after the meeting?

  5. Resolving Challenges: whether they are process or people challenges, yes, you need to pull people together for some good communication that includes verbal and nonverbal cues. A meeting is key to resolving issues.

  6. Questions: if there are indications that your team is confused, bringing everyone together is a great way for all to benefit from hearing the information together. Many will share the same question. If, as a leader, you can anticipate the questions, an FAQ emailed out or placed on your intranet might also do the trick without a meeting.

  7. Education: this is another great way to spend meeting time. Whether it’s pulling everyone together for a webinar or to have a co-workers teach a new technique, learning with your team is an important activity. Let everyone hear the information together and benefit from questions, participation and group practice activities.

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Direct download: DTD_091__Do_You_Really_Need_a_Meeting.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT

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It’s time to take an inventory. How often is it fear that stops you in your tracks? How many excuses do you make to avoid doing what you fear?

We all have them, some activity, conversation, task that we don’t want to do. What would your life look like if you started busting through those fears? How different would it be? What have you missed out on, avoided that could have been great? What avoidance tactics have altered the course of your life and not in a good way?

Fear can be big an overpowering. And, as humans, we will take the path of least resistance unless there is a catalyst.

I share a story about my son to illustrate what fear can look like in our lives. Left unchecked it has a tendency to grow.

When he was young, my son had a fear of thunderstorms. Not unusual. He was too young to understand what was going on so to him it was a lot of noise. At first, he just needed to be cuddled or expressed concern when there was a storm. Over time he began to head for cover in our basement when he heard thunder. Once when we were camping in our RV I woke to find him sleeping in a storage area under the couch. He was trying to shield himself from all the noise.

As he grew so did his fear. Soon he was feeling afraid when it rained. Rain might bring thunder.   He would hide in the basement.

Then clouds began to scare him. Clouds might bring rain and rain might bring thunder. He would hide in the basement.

Then he became fearful when there was wind. Wind might bring clouds, clouds could bring rain and rain might mean thunder. He would hide in the basement.

I watched as this fear grew and grew. It was painful.   Thankfully, he has worked his way back through the fears and does fine during storms now. And he understands the science behind the noise.

Where is fear doing something similar in your life? It might not be storms but something else. In the show notes I have a graphic of all kinds of different fears that often plague adults.

Where is fear shifting the trajectory of your work or life?

Where is it growing like a blob?

What impact is it having?

Today I am asking you to commit to one Risk per day.

Not a physical risk like skydiving or a roller coaster

Not an Adrenaline Rush risk.

No, I am asking you to get out of your comfort zone. Do that thing that you’ve been avoiding. Begin to expand your life one action at a time.

  • Make that call,
  • take that class,
  • go to that event,
  • have that conversation
  • Go it alone somewhere
  • Admit the wrong
  • Ask for help
  • Read a chapter in the book
  • Make the investment
  • Make that presentation
  • Ask for that raise
  • Make that request
  • Set that boundary
  • Share your opinion

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Direct download: DTD_090__Is_Fear_a_Factor_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT

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As you listen to conversations in a restaurant or a conference room doesn’t it seem like people everywhere are in competition to see who is busier? Technology is wonderful and has created efficiency and mobility. However, too many of us are filling every moment with value add activities, eeking out every morsel of output from every minute of every day.

Joshua Becker Website Becoming Minimalist Best selling author “Simplify and Clutter free with Kids”

In a recent blog post he shared the “9 Hidden Lies that Keep our Schedules Overwhelmed”

  1. Accolades will bring fulfillment.
  2. Money will bring happiness.
  3. I don’t have a choice.
  4. I’m more productive if I’m busy.
  5. I am needed.
  6. Everything is important.
  7. I need to be busy to keep up with everyone else.
  8. Busy makes me look more important.
  9. Quietness is laziness. 
  10. Accolades will bring fulfillment. As he describes, people believe that busy means accomplishment and accomplishment equals accolades and fulfillment.I remember years ago seeing an illustration of a very busy maze and one that had a pretty straight shot to the center. At the top it read something to the effect that busy doesn’t always mean productive. And that’s the thing, being busy doesn’t mean you are getting anything done. Or, perhaps you are getting things done but not the important things. Anyone can stay busy 24/7 but what are you really achieving? If you aren’t using your time effectively you won’t accomplish much no matter the effort. And, even achievement doesn’t guarantee the accolades or gratitude of others. Do your work well and find a why that doesn’t include seeking out the approval or validation from others.

  11. Money will bring happiness. We get caught up in the double misconception first that money will solve all of our problems and make us deliriously happy and second, that there is a direct correlation between busyness and money. Unfortunately, neither is true. As a former single mom I can vouch for this for sure! I was busier than I’d ever been but most of what I did was not to earn money. Constant motion does not guarantee wealth.

  12. I don’t have a choice.Many of us live over-busy lives because of the expectations and demands of others. Some of us create the chaos ourselves thinking there are no other options. I teach my clients that the mere fact of living from the belief that you have no choice, that victim mentality, will create more stress and overwhelm. You always have options. Are there negative or unpleasant consequences to the alternative? Possibly. But you are empowered to choose a new path. Avoid the phrase “I have to” to see how different it can feel. From an empowered place of other things are possible see what creative changes you can make.

  13. I’m more productive if I’m busy.I always say you can full tilt for a sprint but not a marathon. Yes, getting in the zone fully focused you can be very productive. But you must have periods for rest and rejuvenation. Check out the book “The Power of Full Engagement”. They help business people adopt the strategies used by world class athletes. Key to success, full focused action with built in periods of rest.

  14. I am needed. Some people need to be needed and that desire drives them to say yes to any request. I always tell my clients, “others will fill up every moment of your life if you let them.” If you always say yes you will be known as the go to person and more people will follow. Be intentional about where you give your time and serve from the heart rather than to fill that void of I am needed.

  15. Everything is important. I still love the illustration that Stephen Covey used years ago in his “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” videos. He had a container with rocks, one with sand and one with water. He asks participants to come up and fit everything in one container. Adding the large rocks to the sand does not work but start with the rocks and fit the smaller stuff around it and more is accomplished. If you take the time to figure it out some things are much more important than others.   Unless you are intentional with your time, however, the little stuff that comes at you monopolizes all of your time. Emails, phone calls, people stopping in, other people’s agendas. In this age of technology we are plugged in 24/7. We have more requests and information coming at us constantly. And its presence doesn’t make it important. You must decide ahead what takes precedent.

  16. I need to be busy to keep up with everyone else. We get constant, edited windows into each other’s lives. Facebook and reality television make it feel like everyone else is doing more, enjoying more, earning more. That “reality” isn’t real. They are specially selected tiny windows into other people’s lives. You aren’t competing with their truth.

  17. Busy makes me look more important.I just covered this topic in my last episode. People sometimes concoct or create busyness to appear important. Meanwhile they just looked frazzled and disrespectful. Being intentional with your time, prioritizing well and handling what you choose to take on with grace is far more impressive.

  18. Quietness is laziness. It seems like the entire world is in a competition for who can be busiest, he or she who gets the most done wins. The goal is efficiency and effective use of time.   We forget that effective use of time can be about sleeping, reading, contemplating, being. How often do we forget to just be in the moment? I often coach clients through periods of transition, which require times of quiet contemplation.   In our active society this can breed guilt so I encourage them to give themselves grace and allow for those necessary times of quiet. I’ve coined a phrase that helps them realize that the quiet is actually doing. I call it the cocoon phase.  Quiet is not lazy. Quiet is necessary.

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Direct download: DTD_89_Are_You_the__I_m_too_Busy__Bee_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT

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Are you one of those chronologically challenged people? The ones constantly running into meetings exclaiming “sorry”, as you move to find a seat? Or, do your friends and family just roll their eyes as you explain, once again that “traffic was terrible” or “I got lost” as you maneuver your way through the group?

Tardiness creates drama and is a sign of disrespect. And don’t underestimate the negative impact that chronic lateness creates! You need to do all in your power to be on time! I have coached people with this affliction and found varied reasons for it.

Here are some of the main culprits I’ve helped clients overcome. Do you struggle with any of these? As always, get real. You have to acknowledge something before you can change it.

  1. You don’t gage time well. You aren’t realistic about how long things will take or how much travel time is required.
  2. You get lost in a current task and time slips away. You look up to see that there is zero possibility of arriving on time.
  3. You like to seem important and arriving late to a meeting or gathering proves that you have many things on your plate. People should just appreciate that you’ve blessed them with your presence at all.
  4. You are completely disorganized with your calendar and have no idea what’s on it or when. It has totally gotten away from you.
  5. You don’t say no appropriately so are constantly overscheduled. Maybe you don’t even bother to check before you say yes yet again.   You’d feel bad saying no. You’ll just figure it out later.
  6. You just don’t care. You are a Type B personality to the Nth degree. You’ll get there when you get there. You have no idea why so many people let time rule their lives.

Unless you are of the just don’t care variety you are probably experiencing drama yourself as you try to maneuver through a too full calendar. If you’re the ego later your stress might be in finding things to do to continually appear busy.

And the people who are waiting for you are feeling stress. If you are an important part of the meeting you may be wasting everyone’s time. They can’t finalize a conversation or make a decision without you and have to wait and then spend additional time summarizing what’s already happened. Or, your family and friends held up dinner or waited to cut the cake or started without you but missed your presence once again.

It’s a sign of disrespect too. You are saying that you are more important than other people. Anyone can be late for a meeting or can over schedule. It takes intentional action to avoid it.

When I work with leaders who are chronically late I give them these strategies.

  1. You don’t gage time well: Reality check your time estimates. Create your initial estimate and then tack on some extra time. If you have repeating tasks keep track so that you have a reference for next time. Have a colleague or friend who is notoriously on time review your estimates. Or, if you have an admin give them more control over your schedule.

    For travel times add 10 to 15 minutes additional for every half an hour the travel should take. If you’re in an area with extra heavy traffic or it’s rush hour you will need to tack on more. And make sure to factor in time to get into the building. If you have to hit the 20th floor you’ll need time to park in a large lot or structure, wait for the elevator and take the ride up.
    Getting places early feels REALLY good! I’m an efficiency junky and also a freak about being on time. How do I deal with the extra time I have when arriving early? I always travel with portable, quick tasks to do. I can still be efficient with my time without the stress of running just on time or late.

  2. You get lost in a current task and time slips away: if this is you there’s a super quick fix. Just set an alarm on your phone. Determine what time you need to be done, pick a catchy tune, utilize the self discipline to stop when you need to and you’ve got it.
  3. You like to seem important: get over yourself. The truth is, everyone in that meeting or event had many other things they could have been doing with their time too. You don’t look busy and important you just look rude.

    It is way more impressive to juggle many things well. Be intentional about what you commit to and follow through on your word.

    I remember the year I was getting married. I was a single mom, business owner, Board member and helping to start a non-profit. I made it to my kids’ activities and arrived early to all of my professional commitments while still managing to plan a wedding. I said no where I needed to and honored the commitments I made by juggling my calendar. You can get a lot done while still respecting yourself and others!

  4. You are completely disorganized with your calendar: Find a system that works and stick to it. If you have an admin who can own this for you give up the fight. Or, perhaps he or she is the one creating the chaos by overbooking you. If this is the case, get in control. Create specific rules about the number of appointments, after work obligations, breakfast meeting per week, etc. And then, get in the habit of checking it before you add anything to it.   And you must check it throughout each day or at least first thing in the morning. And, again, be intentional about to what you commit.

    Years ago when I was just starting my business I did struggle with this a little bit. I had been a stay at home mom for a few years with just a few play dates and an occasional pediatrician appointment on the calendar during the day.   I remember missing a very important phone conference call.   It was the very early stages when I still maybe had one meeting to track every couple of weeks. I was not yet back in the habit of checking my calendar everyday nor keeping track of time for anything other than nap or snack times. I had to re-learn. That one miss and I was back on track!

  5. You don’t say no appropriately so are constantly overscheduled:   focus on the stress and overwhelm this causes in your life. You need to build the motivation to start saying no appropriately.

    Here’s one strategy I teach. Buy yourself time by telling someone you need to check your calendar. You should be doing that anyway! This will give a quick phrase to help you breathe and be intentional.

  6. You just don’t care. If this is you, you need to find a way to care or you will never be motivated to change. Since being late is probably not causing you any stress can you think about what it’s doing to other people? Are they feeling disappointment or stress? Can you think back to important events you’ve missed? Have you lost any jobs or professional opportunities? Have any of your relationships been negatively impacted?

    If you can muster the motivation then you can deploy some of the strategies I’ve included here.

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Direct download: DTD_088__6_Key_Causes_of_Chronic_Lateness_and_How_to_Overcome_Them.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT

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Too many of us spend our lives saying, “I’ll be happy when…..”

Fill in the blank:

  • I get in shape,
  • My kids get a little older
  • I find a husband
  • My business is bigger
  • I have more time
  • I lose weight
  • I have a bigger house
  • I take my dream vacation
  • My family stops being so dysfunctional
  • My employees listen better

I have a teen son who spends every season wishing for the next season to hurry up and get here. I worry that he’ll never take the time to enjoy the moment, feel gratitude for what had him excited for the winter, summer, spring or fall to get here.

And it’s not just happiness that eludes us. You could fill in the blanks with other similar statements. I couldn’t add them all in the title. It would be WAY too long!

  • I’ll feel successful when
  • I’ll be complete when
  • I’ll feel good about myself when
  • I’ll be fulfilled when
  • I’ll celebrate when
  • I’ll focus on me when
  • I’ll have life balance when
  • I’ll vacation when
  • I’ll get that education when

What is that elusive positive emotion you are waiting to experience? What can you focus on to get there in this moment?

If you’ve been saying I will feel happy when…..what can make you happy now? What have you achieved that should help you feel successful today? Listen to my gratitude episode. Shift your focus in a moment to what can make you feel fulfilled, successful and happy. Feel content and positive where you are and then set your sights on the next adventure:
Episode #60 – You Can Choose Gratitude Everyday

Are there at least some small steps you could start making right now?

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Direct download: DTD_087__I_ll_Be_Happy_When.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:55am EDT

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As always, In the Defeat Your Drama segments, I will provide solutions based on the information provided. I will obviously not have full details so will provide customized strategies based on what you share. Always consider your own specific circumstances before taking any action. These are suggestions not guarantees.

Emily, it sounds like you are in a tough and frustrating spot. So sorry for this! There are still some strategies that you can try. It does seem like you and your team have tried everything within your control to help her change. If she’s staying then we need to identify what is still in your control.

#1 Make it as Small as Possible

If your co-worker is going to stay and continue behaving the way she is then all of that is out of your control at this point. You want to stay in your job out of a passion for the non-profit’s work. The goal is to see if you can make this situation at all palatable. You want to stay but can not with your current level of frustration. You can only change what you can control and your focus is something you can control.

Right now it sounds like there is a constant focus on your coworker and her negative behavior. Both from you and your team. You can’t control your team but you can control you. In your mind, make her as small as possible. Put her in a circle in your mind. You can literally visual her as a tiny, tiny little being. Make her smaller and smaller and quieter and quieter. See her inside a tiny, tiny little contained circle.

Now, make the mission of the non-profit and the important work that you get to do as big as possible. In your mind visualize that getting bigger and bigger and bigger. Put it in a giant circle.

Now visualize that giant circle next to the tiny, tiny circle that contains this woman. She’s a tiny little ant next to a universe.

Practice that visual.

Now, bring it into real life. In every moment you get to choose what you focus on. Everyone is in an uproar over this woman, understandably. You are sharing stories, cleaning up her messes, wishing she weren’t there, wanting her to behave differently, collecting her issues, thinking about them, talking about them.

She his monopolizing your focus.

I’m not saying it will be easy, but it is doable   Just STOP.

Ignore her. Make her small. Stop getting frustrated when you have to clean up her mess. I’m not saying it isn’t frustrating. But the reality is whether you are focusing on it and frustrated or ignoring it she is the same. Your frustration does nothing to solve the problem anyway. Pass over that thought and move right on to the work at hand. Visualize the big difference you are making in the world through your work. Place your focus there. Place your focus where you CAN and ARE making a difference. Ignore her and her actions. Place no focus there.

#2 Stop Cleaning up Her Messes

Someone is making the decision to keep her. Is this same person suffering the consequences of this co-worker’s mistakes? Or, is the team doing all of the clean up. I know it is hard, especially when you feel so strongly about the work you are doing. Cushioning a decision maker from the full consequences and dealing with all of them yourselves can sometimes prolong a tough decision. Pain is what moves humans into action. If there is pain on both sides of a decision people have a tendency to stick to the actions that create the least amount of pain or consequences.

There is a reason someone is deciding to keep this employee. I am assuming it’s not about her work ethic. It sounds more like they have guilt or fear. Maybe they fear her defensive response. Perhaps they have guilt because they know she needs the job. The pain of that guilt and fear is bigger than the consequence they are experiencing from her bad behavior. Is that because you guys clean it all up so the organization does not suffer? Does the boss have to deal with the team complaints but not the clean up?

Do what you can to help decision makers feel the full brunt of consequences. Stop being on the clean up crew.

You may even tell them that you can no longer do it. You will do your job to the best of your ability but will no longer clean up her messes. You are overwhelmed, resentful and frustrated. Share what is true. What do you have to lose? You are at your wit’s end. The only chance that you can stay is if something changes. Your change may be the catalyst that makes that transformation happen.

#3 See Her in a Different Light

Part of your frustration is in wanting her to be different. Perhaps you assume she is doing what she’s doing on purpose. Chances are the outcomes she achieves are not what she intends. Instead they are the fall out for the false beliefs, fears, lack of self esteem, whatever is actually driving her. And it might be a sense of entitlement and a desire to do as little as possible. There are some who have that mission.

The truth is, life can’t be very fulfilling for her. She knows she’s not doing a good job. She knows she’s trying to stay stuck and hanging on by a thread where she is. She’s working hard and expending a lot of energy to control what she can and keep things status quo.

I’m not trying to help you excuse away what she’s doing. It is a shame. But for your own level of satisfaction and nothing more, can you feel sorry for her or find her actions ridiculously funny? Is it possible for someone to be this delusional?

If you can find humor or empathy rather than frustration the situation may begin to be more palatable. And this can help you stay in a job you otherwise love.

#4 Leave

If all else fails, you can’t make the issue small and focus on other things, you can’t find empathy or humor, you can’t ignite the desire for change in the leaders by allowing them to feel the consequences. If the frustration is at a level that you can no longer tolerate then the option for your sanity and enjoyment of life is to leave. Use your gifts and all that you have to offer to an organization that values hard work and a focus where it should be. An organization that does not tolerate drama.

It is possible that your resignation would ignite a fire in the leaders who are allowing the behavior to continue. I wouldn’t suggest giving an idle threat but if you are truly at that point and find no other options let the leaders know. And maybe, just maybe, they’ll do what they must.

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Direct download: DYD_086__I_Have_to_Babysit_My_Coworker_and_Fix_Her_Mistakes.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT

Click To Apply For A FREE Leadership Breakthrough Session with Kirsten Today!

We often have a tendency to be so hard on ourselves. Many of my clients begin sessions lamenting a failure or missed deadline. And time and time again my request to them is, “Give yourself grace!”

If there is something to be learned, a change you are working towards, or a repeating pattern certainly feel the pain for a bit, muster some of that motivation to do what you must. Beyond that, however, you are just wasting time and energy that could be used to strategize a solution or create a new game plan.

First, perfection is rarely achievable. They celebrate the perfect bowling score for a reason. It doesn’t happen that often – or does it? I certainly wouldn’t consider myself a bowling expert. I know I celebrate when I hit a score over 100. But I digress.

Waiting to celebrate only when you’ve achieved perfection is a tough way to live. Give yourself grace!

Sometimes our wiring gets in the way. You can’t change how you are wired you can only create work arounds when how you are wired doesn’t’ serve you. Give yourself grace!

For instance, if you are a type A personality, this probably serves you well in many situations.   You get things done, you are on time for meetings, you have lots of bandwidth so can handle lots of projects at once. Your energy can seem endless at times. Great!

Now, what if you are a Type A personality who has to wait to make a big deal happen. You have to wait through the process of due diligence, wait through the process of negotiation……….all while your desire for instant gratification gnaws at you.

Your Type A wiring can make things difficult under this circumstance. Don’t beat yourself up, Give Yourself Grace! You can’t change how you are wired. And you don’t want to drive yourself crazy. You’ll have to come up with some creative work arounds to keep your mind off things while you wait for the process to unfold.

Sometimes things happen that are out of our control and can cause us to miss the goal of perfection.

If you are a regular listener to my podcast you may have noticed that I did not publish episodes on my normal schedule recently. I missed one……..Yep, I did!

Recently, many things happened that were out of my control. One on top of the other.

Hard drive crashed causing lost time taking it to the Apple store.

Lost productivity from being without it for a few days

Time to re-load everything and get re-organized

Searching for a lost file that I will talk about in a minute

About the time I got it back up and running my son got sick.

He had a temperature over 104. This took lots of my time as I dropped everything else to care for him, created worry and lost sleep as the spike happened late in the evening, as they always seem to.

I did hate to miss. But I am giving myself grace! I made choices that led to this outcome but I wouldn’t change them. I could do nothing about the lap top and I would never put publishing a podcast ahead of taking care of my sick son. So here I am. The reality is I can beat myself up or I can be okay with it. Neither changes the reality. Either way, the time has past and I didn’t get it done. Nothing I can do about it now. Time to move on.

And speaking of that crashed hard drive. It contributed to a flurry of activity that served to shift my focus. During the crash I lost a very important file. I am normally so careful about where I save things. I backup and double back up. Especially when it’s a very big project. And this one was. I’m working on a new book, my third. I used to constantly email myself the file so that I’d have it saved on my computer, backed up on an external hard drive and alive and well in the cloud as an email attachment.

I’ve been using Google Drive for a few years now and that has made things much easier. The file lives in the cloud, on my laptop and my PC. That’s still not enough, though! I also periodically copy and paste the entire drive to the desktop of my PC which also backs up to Mozy every night. And then, just for good measure, about once a month I back up my Macbook Pro to an external hard drive. My files are quadruple backed up. And yet, somehow, this file, this very important file, is lost. Thankfully, not totally. However, the most recent version I could find is months old. Somehow, I must have inadvertently saved that important file directly to my laptop rather than to Google Drive. Something I have not done with anything else, to my knowledge.

I must admit, I am not totally there yet. It is still really fresh. But I’m about to stop wracking my brain trying to figure out how it could happen, about to stop beating myself up for a foolish, foolish error, fully give myself grace and move on. I need to muster all of my creative energy to re-construct what I’ve lost and move on to completion.

Click To Apply For A FREE Leadership Breakthrough Session with Kirsten Today!

Direct download: DTD_085__You_Failed_to_be_Perfect____Give_Yourself_Grace.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00am EDT