Work Place Tips

Organizational Transition

Organizational Transition is always a difficult time for everyone. The emotional reactions experienced when ‘organizational transition’ occurs and job change/loss is inevitable are similar to the grief process.  People who experience a sense of change/loss normally move through a series of re-occurring emotional reactions or stages.  The sequence by which individuals move through the stages may vary and stages may overlap. Here are twelve stages of change that employees may experience during the organizational transition process. Know that you might be at a different stage of change/loss than your colleagues. Understanding this may help us be more present with each other. Supervisors should know that job performance may also vary as employees experience different stages of change/loss. Rational decision making increases considerably at the acceptance stage.

 

  1. Relief:                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Some people will experience a sense of relief. With unemployment benefits former employees sometime react as if they are on vacation and delay dealing with the reality of the situation. They also may experience relief if they were in a position or work environment with which they were highly dissatisfied. The termination may be viewed as a way out from an unpleasant situation. Knowing one’s fate of employment  (positive or negative) releases one from the anxiety of not knowing.

 

  1. Shock:                                                                                                                                                                                                    Individuals may feel numb when they first receive the news of their termination.

 

  1. Denial:                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sometimes people do not believe they have been terminated, and they do not want to talk about their termination with family and friends.  People may feel in a daze for a period of time.

 

  1. Anger                                                                                                                                                                                                          When denial can no longer be maintained, individuals may feel anger and resentment. They will ask themselves the question, “Why me?”  Individuals may displace their anger toward the university, their supervisors, their co-workers, their family.

 

  1. Bargaining                                                                                                                                                                                                 Some will try to have their employment situation reconsidered.

 

  1. Guilt                                                                                                                                                                                                            People sometimes blame themselves for their termination. They begin to think it is because of poor performance. If their unemployment extends for several weeks or months, they feel guilty for not “providing” for their family or themselves.  A sense of failure is dominant.

 

  1. Panic                                                                                                                                                                                                                The frenzied job search begins. Some spend hours reading want ads but do not apply for jobs or may apply for jobs for which they do not qualify.  The job search is  disorganized and/or sporadic.

 

  1. Depression                                                                                                                                                                                                   This is usually inevitable. People may sleep more or less, eat more or less, drink more or less, etc. People feel that they have little control over their life situation.

 

  1. Resignation                                                                                                                                                                                                 Acceptance begins when individuals resign themselves to the fact that they are unemployed.  At this point people realize they need to do something even though they may still feel angry or depressed.

 

  1. Acceptance                                                                                                                                                                                                      At this stage individuals can begin to develop goals, make plans, of Reality and begin to take action to change their situation.  People can productively begin their career     assessment and job search. (Note: If a long job search occurs, individuals can easily relapse to prior stages.)

 

  1. Building                                                                                                                                                                                                         This stage usually begins with making a decision about the future: accepting a new job, training for a new occupation, retiring, completing education, etc.

 

  1. Growth                                                                                                                                                                                                           Most personal growth and development is precipitated by a crisis, however; when forced to, and most people do not voluntarily put themselves in a crisis situation, move in new directions, people generally become stronger and happier persons.

 

 Stages have been edited by colleagues from the International Association of Employee Assistance Programs in Education

             Adapted from “The Psychology of Termination and Outplacement”

            In Employment Termination Handbook,  Legal and Psychological guidelines for

            Employers by Robert B. Garber.  New York:  Executive Enterprises Publications

            Co.,

 

 


How Rude! Workplace Incivility is Contagious

Rudeness in the workplace isn’t just unpleasant: It’s also contagious. Encountering rude behavior at work makes people more likely to perceive rudeness in later interactions, a University of Florida study shows. That perception makes them more likely to be impolite in return, spreading rudeness like a virus.

“When you experience rudeness, it makes rudeness more noticeable,” said lead author Trevor Foulk, a doctoral student in management at UF’s Warrington College of Business Administration. “You’ll see more rudeness even if it’s not there.” (read more, go to Workplace Tips:  chc.nmsu.edu/eap/wpt/)


Rudeness is Contagious

July 29, 2015

How Rude! Workplace Incivility is Contagious

Rudeness in the workplace isn’t just unpleasant: It’s also contagious. Encountering rude behavior at work makes people more likely to perceive rudeness in later interactions, a University of Florida study shows. That perception makes them more likely to be impolite in return, spreading rudeness like a virus.

“When you experience rudeness, it makes rudeness more noticeable,” said lead author Trevor Foulk, a doctoral student in management at UF’s Warrington College of Business Administration. “You’ll see more rudeness even if it’s not there.”

The findings, published June 29 in the Journal of Applied Psychology, provide the first evidence that everyday impoliteness spreads in the workplace.

“Part of the problem is that we are generally tolerant of these behaviors, but they’re actually really harmful,” Foulk said. “Rudeness has an incredibly powerful negative effect on the workplace.”

The study tracked 90 graduate students practicing negotiation with classmates. Those who rated their initial negotiation partner as rude were more likely to be rated as rude by a subsequent partner, showing that they passed along the first partner’s rudeness. The effect continued even when a week elapsed between the first and second negotiations.

Rudeness directed at others can also prime our brains to detect discourtesy. Foulk and his co-authors, fellow doctoral student Andrew Woolum and UF management professor Amir Erez, tested how quickly 47 undergraduate students could identify which words in a list were real and which were nonsense words. Before the exercise began, participants observed one of two staged interactions between an apologetic late-arriving participant and the study leader. When the leader was rude to the latecomer, the participants identified rude words on the list as real words significantly faster than participants who had observed the neutral interaction.

The impact of secondhand rudeness didn’t stop there, however: Just like those who experience rudeness firsthand, people who witness it were more likely to be rude to others. When study participants watched a video of a rude workplace interaction, then answered a fictitious customer email that was neutral in tone, they were more likely to be hostile in their responses than those who viewed a polite interaction before responding.

“That tells us that rudeness will flavor the way you interpret ambiguous cues,” Foulk said.

Foulk hopes the study will encourage employers to take incivility more seriously.

“You might go your whole career and not experience abuse or aggression in the workplace, but rudeness also has a negative effect on performance,” he said. “It isn’t something you can just turn your back on. It matters.”

Source: University of Florida
Photo Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/killerb10

from: APA Good Company Newsletter: July 29/Vol 9/Number 7


How Successful People Stay Calm

Dr. Travis BradberryInfluencer

Coauthor Emotional Intelligence 2.0 & President at TalentSmart

While I’ve run across numerous effective strategies that successful people employ when faced with stress, what follows are ten of the best. Some of these strategies may seem obvious, but the real challenge lies in recognizing when you need to use them and having the wherewithal to actually do so in spite of your stress.

They Appreciate What They Have

Taking time to contemplate what you’re grateful for isn’t merely the “right” thing to do. It also improves your mood, because it reduces the stress hormone cortisol by 23%. Research conducted at the University of California, Davis found that people who worked daily to cultivate an attitude of gratitude experienced improved mood, energy, and physical well-being. It’s likely that lower levels of cortisol played a major role in this.

They Avoid Asking “What If?”

“What if?” statements throw fuel on the fire of stress and worry. Things can go in a million different directions, and the more time you spend worrying about the possibilities, the less time you’ll spend focusing on taking action that will calm you down and keep your stress under control. Calm people know that asking “what if? will only take them to a place they don’t want—or need—to go.

They Stay Positive

Positive thoughts help make stress intermittent by focusing your brain’s attention onto something that is completely stress-free. You have to give your wandering brain a little help by consciously selecting something positive to think about. Any positive thought will do to refocus your attention. When things are going well, and your mood is good, this is relatively easy. When things are going poorly, and your mind is flooded with negative thoughts, this can be a challenge. In these moments, think about your day and identify one positive thing that happened, no matter how small. If you can’t think of something from the current day, reflect on the previous day or even the previous week. Or perhaps you’re looking forward to an exciting event that you can focus your attention on. The point here is that you must have something positive that you’re ready to shift your attention to when your thoughts turn negative.

They Disconnect

Given the importance of keeping stress intermittent, it’s easy to see how taking regular time off the grid can help keep your stress under control. When you make yourself available to your work 24/7, you expose yourself to a constant barrage of stressors. Forcing yourself offline and even—gulp!—turning off your phone gives your body a break from a constant source of stress. Studies have shown that something as simple as an email break can lower stress levels.

Technology enables constant communication and the expectation that you should be available 24/7. It is extremely difficult to enjoy a stress-free moment outside of work when an email that will change your train of thought and get you thinking (read: stressing) about work can drop onto your phone at any moment. If detaching yourself from work-related communication on weekday evenings is too big a challenge, then how about the weekend? Choose blocks of time where you cut the cord and go offline. You’ll be amazed at how refreshing these breaks are and how they reduce stress by putting a mental recharge into your weekly schedule. If you’re worried about the negative repercussions of taking this step, first try doing it at times when you’re unlikely to be contacted—maybe Sunday morning. As you grow more comfortable with it, and as your coworkers begin to accept the time you spend offline, gradually expand the amount of time you spend away from technology.

They Limit Their Caffeine Intake

Drinking caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline. Adrenaline is the source of the “fight-or-flight” response, a survival mechanism that forces you to stand up and fight or run for the hills when faced with a threat. The fight-or-flight mechanism sidesteps rational thinking in favor of a faster response. This is great when a bear is chasing you, but not so great when you’re responding to a curt email. When caffeine puts your brain and body into this hyperaroused state of stress, your emotions overrun your behavior. The stress that caffeine creates is far from intermittent, as its long half-life ensures that it takes its sweet time working its way out of your body.

They Sleep

I’ve beaten this one to death over the years and can’t say enough about the importance of sleep to increasing your emotional intelligence and managing your stress levels. When you sleep, your brain literally recharges, shuffling through the day’s memories and storing or discarding them (which causes dreams), so that you wake up alert and clear-headed. Your self-control, attention, and memory are all reduced when you don’t get enough—or the right kind—of sleep. Sleep deprivation raises stress hormone levels on its own, even without a stressor present. Stressful projects often make you feel as if you have no time to sleep, but taking the time to get a decent night’s sleep is often the one thing keeping you from getting things under control.

They Squash Negative Self-Talk

A big step in managing stress involves stopping negative self-talk in its tracks. The more you ruminate on negative thoughts, the more power you give them. Most of our negative thoughts are just that—thoughts, not facts. When you find yourself believing the negative and pessimistic things your inner voice says, it’s time to stop and write them down. Literally stop what you’re doing and write down what you’re thinking. Once you’ve taken a moment to slow down the negative momentum of your thoughts, you will be more rational and clear-headed in evaluating their veracity.

You can bet that your statements aren’t true any time you use words like “never,” “worst,” “ever,” etc. If your statements still look like facts once they’re on paper, take them to a friend or colleague you trust and see if he or she agrees with you. Then the truth will surely come out. When it feels like something always or never happens, this is just your brain’s natural threat tendency inflating the perceived frequency or severity of an event. Identifying and labeling your thoughts as thoughts by separating them from the facts will help you escape the cycle of negativity and move toward a positive new outlook.

They Reframe Their Perspective

Stress and worry are fueled by our own skewed perception of events. It’s easy to think that unrealistic deadlines, unforgiving bosses, and out-of-control traffic are the reasons we’re so stressed all the time. You can’t control your circumstances, but you can control how you respond to them. So before you spend too much time dwelling on something, take a minute to put the situation in perspective. If you aren’t sure when you need to do this, try looking for clues that your anxiety may not be proportional to the stressor. If you’re thinking in broad, sweeping statements such as “Everything is going wrong” or “Nothing will work out,” then you need to reframe the situation. A great way to correct this unproductive thought pattern is to list the specific things that actually are going wrong or not working out. Most likely you will come up with just some things—not everything—and the scope of these stressors will look much more limited than it initially appeared.

They Breathe

The easiest way to make stress intermittent lies in something that you have to do everyday anyway: breathing. The practice of being in the moment with your breathing will begin to train your brain to focus solely on the task at hand and get the stress monkey off your back. When you’re feeling stressed, take a couple of minutes to focus on your breathing. Close the door, put away all other distractions, and just sit in a chair and breathe. The goal is to spend the entire time focused only on your breathing, which will prevent your mind from wandering. Think about how it feels to breathe in and out. This sounds simple, but it’s hard to do for more than a minute or two. It’s all right if you get sidetracked by another thought; this is sure to happen at the beginning, and you just need to bring your focus back to your breathing. If staying focused on your breathing proves to be a real struggle, try counting each breath in and out until you get to 20, and then start again from 1. Don’t worry if you lose count; you can always just start over.

This task may seem too easy or even a little silly, but you’ll be surprised by how calm you feel afterward and how much easier it is to let go of distracting thoughts that otherwise seem to have lodged permanently inside your brain.

They Use Their Support System

It’s tempting, yet entirely ineffective, to attempt tackling everything by yourself. To be calm and productive, you need to recognize your weaknesses and ask for help when you need it. This means tapping into your support system when a situation is challenging enough for you to feel overwhelmed. Everyone has someone at work and/or outside work who is on their team, rooting for them, and ready to help them get the best from a difficult situation. Identify these individuals in your life and make an effort to seek their insight and assistance when you need it. Something as simple as talking about your worries will provide an outlet for your anxiety and stress and supply you with a new perspective on the situation. Most of the time, other people can see a solution that you can’t because they are not as emotionally invested in the situation. Asking for help will mitigate your stress and strengthen your relationships with those you rely upon.

 

 


Practicing Gratitude

An Article from  2011 Harvard Mental Health Letter  http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/harvard_mental_health_letter/2011/november/in-praise-of-gratitude

In Praise of Gratitude

Expressing thanks may be one of the simplest ways to feel better.

The Thanksgiving holiday began, as the name implies, when the colonists gave thanks for their survival and for a good harvest. So perhaps November is a good time to review the mental health benefits of gratitude — and to consider some advice about how to cultivate this state of mind.

The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness (depending on the context). In some ways gratitude encompasses all of these meanings. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.

In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.

People feel and express gratitude in multiple ways. They can apply it to the past (retrieving positive memories and being thankful for elements of childhood or past blessings), the present (not taking good fortune for granted as it comes), and the future (maintaining a hopeful and optimistic attitude). Regardless of the inherent or current level of someone’s gratitude, it’s a quality that individuals can successfully cultivate further.

Research on gratitude

Two psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami, have done much of the research on gratitude. In one study, they asked all participants to write a few sentences each week, focusing on particular topics.

One group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week. A second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had displeased them, and the third wrote about events that had affected them (with no emphasis on them being positive or negative). After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.

Another leading researcher in this field, Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, tested the impact of various positive psychology interventions on 411 people, each compared with a control assignment of writing about early memories. When their week’s assignment was to write and personally deliver a letter of gratitude to someone who had never been properly thanked for his or her kindness, participants immediately exhibited a huge increase in happiness scores. This impact was greater than that from any other intervention, with benefits lasting for a month.

Of course, studies such as this one cannot prove cause and effect. But most of the studies published on this topic support an association between gratitude and an individual’s well-being.

Other studies have looked at how gratitude can improve relationships. For example, a study of couples found that individuals who took time to express gratitude for their partner not only felt more positive toward the other person but also felt more comfortable expressing concerns about their relationship.

Managers who remember to say “thank you” to people who work for them may find that those employees feel motivated to work harder. Researchers at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania randomly divided university fund-raisers into two groups. One group made phone calls to solicit alumni donations in the same way they always had. The second group — assigned to work on a different day — received a pep talk from the director of annual giving, who told the fund-raisers she was grateful for their efforts. During the following week, the university employees who heard her message of gratitude made 50% more fund-raising calls than those who did not.

There are some notable exceptions to the generally positive results in research on gratitude. One study found that middle-aged divorced women who kept gratitude journals were no more satisfied with their lives than those who did not. Another study found that children and adolescents who wrote and delivered a thank-you letter to someone who made a difference in their lives may have made the other person happier — but did not improve their own well-being. This finding suggests that gratitude is an attainment associated with emotional maturity.

Ways to cultivate gratitude

Gratitude is a way for people to appreciate what they have instead of always reaching for something new in the hopes it will make them happier, or thinking they can’t feel satisfied until every physical and material need is met. Gratitude helps people refocus on what they have instead of what they lack. And, although it may feel contrived at first, this mental state grows stronger with use and practice.

Here are some ways to cultivate gratitude on a regular basis.

Write a thank-you note. You can make yourself happier and nurture your relationship with another person by writing a thank-you letter expressing your enjoyment and appreciation of that person’s impact on your life. Send it, or better yet, deliver and read it in person if possible. Make a habit of sending at least one gratitude letter a month. Once in a while, write one to yourself.

Thank someone mentally. No time to write? It may help just to think about someone who has done something nice for you, and mentally thank the individual.

Keep a gratitude journal. Make it a habit to write down or share with a loved one thoughts about the gifts you’ve received each day.

Count your blessings. Pick a time every week to sit down and write about your blessings — reflecting on what went right or what you are grateful for. Sometimes it helps to pick a number — such as three to five things — that you will identify each week. As you write, be specific and think about the sensations you felt when something good happened to you.

Pray. People who are religious can use prayer to cultivate gratitude.

Meditate. Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment without judgment. Although people often focus on a word or phrase (such as “peace”), it is also possible to focus on what you’re grateful for (the warmth of the sun, a pleasant sound, etc.).

Emmons RA, et al. “Counting Blessings Versus Burdens: An Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being in Daily Life,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Feb. 2003): Vol. 84, No. 2, pp. 377–89.

Grant AM, et al. “A Little Thanks Goes a Long Way: Explaining Why Gratitude Expressions Motivate Prosocial Behavior,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (June 2010): Vol. 98, No. 6, pp. 946–55.

Lambert NM, et al. “Expressing Gratitude to a Partner Leads to More Relationship Maintenance Behavior,”Emotion (Feb. 2011): Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 52–60.

Sansone RA, et al. “Gratitude and Well Being: The Benefits of Appreciation,” Psychiatry (Nov. 2010): Vol. 7, No. 11, pp. 18–22.

Seligman MEP, et al. “Empirical Validation of Interventions,” American Psychologist (July–Aug. 2005): Vol. 60, No. 1, pp. 410–21.


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Workplace Bullying 2014

WORKPLACE BULLYING

                                                                            From American Psychological Association                                                                         http://www.apaexcellence.org/resources/special-topics/workplace-bullying

In a major national survey, 35 percent of American adults reported that they have experienced bullying behaviors at work and another 15 percent said they have witnessed others being bullied (Workplace Bullying Institute, 2010). Workplace bullying can have serious repercussions for employees and the organization alike. Severely bullied workers may suffer a variety of health consequences, including depression and anxiety disorders. Bullying can also diminish productivity and morale, and lead to higher absenteeism and turnover. It can even increase employee benefit costs and the risk of legal action.

On this page, you’ll find a collection of workplace bullying resources, including articles and research abstracts, book recommendations, useful statistics and links to other high-quality resources. Check out the short video about workplace bullying, below, and share it with the HR staff and managers in your organization to help get the conversation started.

See video:           http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=-bhrqQ5zNmc

Workplace bullying may be direct, such as repeated yelling and verbal humiliation, hostile glares, or silence and deliberate exclusion. Or it may be more indirect, such as behind-the-back sabotage, spreading damaging rumors, or imposing unreasonable work demands designed to make the target fail. Supervisors are the most frequent aggressors, followed by peers. In instances of mobbing, employees gang up to bully a co-worker.

Prevention is key for any organization. It starts with leaders who encourage mutual respect in the workplace and send a message that bullying and similar behaviors will not be tolerated. Organizations should educate their employees about workplace bullying and create a policy and procedures for addressing reports of bullying fairly and promptly. Consultation with legal counsel may also be advisable to ensure that liability concerns are adequately addressed.

By promoting a psychologically healthy workplace and taking steps to prevent and address negative workplace behaviors, employers can create a work environment where employees and the organization thrive.

 

Workplace Bulling Institute 2014 Survey:

http://www.workplacebullying.org/2014/02/25/2014-wbi-us/


How to say, "You're wrong", without sounding like a jerk

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were some handy substitute phrases to use in such situations?

One of the strongest human urges is one that compels us to shout, “You’re wrong!” when somebody says something stupid (or at least inaccurate).

Of course, we almost always regret doing so, because we’ve single-handedly set the stage for an argument.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was some handy substitute phrases to use in such situations? You know, a few simple-to-remember words that can express our disagreement in more civil terms and lead to discussion rather than argument?

Well, there are:

  • “I see it differently.” Acknowledges that this is a matter of opinion rather than fact.
  • “That’s one perspective. I have a different one.” Indicates that you believe it possible for there
    to be more than one view on a topic.
  • “You may be right. Let’s check the facts and see.” Concedes the speaker may be correct, but
    creates an opportunity to dissect his or her viewpoint.
  • “You’re right. My thoughts are . . .” Starts off with the two magic words that everyone loves to
    hear, then allows you to state your case.
  • “Help me understand how you see it that way.” An invitation for your counterpart to explain his
    or her case and an indication that you are willing to be convinced.

—Adapted from How to Use Power Phrases, by Meryl Runion (McGraw-Hill)
http://www.managebetter.biz/Main/Articles/22845.aspx