Self-Awareness Workshops

Political Correctness in the Workplace

A lot of people ask me about political correctness and how it affects the workplace.   I tend to think in terms of what behaviors will get us the best results instead of getting stuck in the who-can-say-what-and-when approach.  What seems to work best for highly effective people and workplaces is to practice behaviors that build people up and encourage them to succeed.

Think of the results a leader gets from her people if she says certain things that bring them down versus how they will perform if she encourages them.  Imagine yourself in a situation where someone is constantly “joking” at your expense and then tells you to get over it.  How motivated would you be to do your best work?

If you think about it, people simply see things in different ways and come from different backgrounds.  There’s not a right or wrong to this concept, people just aren’t all the same.  This diversity of ideas, values and skills can help us build stronger workplaces or destabilize them, it’s up to us which path we take.

So ask yourself the following questions to see where you stand on political correctness.  Remember that the questions are not about being right or wrong, they just lead in different directions in the workplace.

  • Do you say things that seem hurt other people?
  • Do you find yourself in conflict with others frequently?
  • Do you have to stop yourself from saying certain things?
  • Do you see all people as equal?
  • Do you treat yourself well?
  • Do you consistently walk a mile in someone else’s shoes?
  • Do you say certain things only around certain people?
  • Do you consistently look for people’s strengths?
  • Do you believe someone always needs to be on top?
  • Do you wish others were more like you?

Your answers to these questions generate predictable results in the workplace.  For example, if you frequently say things that seem to hurt others you will achieve a certain type of result on morale, motivation, productivity, cohesiveness, collaboration and any number of other factors.  If you do the opposite you will have another set of outcomes.  Notice that it’s not about good and evil, it’s just that certain behaviors will make you more effective in the workplace.

Ultimately, political correctness isn’t about other people, it’s about you.  You get to decide how effectively you interact with others and what kind of results you get.  This gives you a lot of power to go out there and create a successful workplace.

Take care,


Leadership Training: The Secret to a Successful Organization

My training clients frequently ask me how to achieve meaningful success in their workplaces.  There’s really no secret to it, you can actually create success by taking small actions and building toward your goals.  Try using the following practical approach to achieve success as you define it.  Follow each of the steps in order and you’ll be on your way to creating your ideal situation.

  • Name one specific thing you would like to improve in your organization.  Give it a specific and clear name and write it down. This is your goal.
  • Decide on a concrete and achievable date by when you will achieve this goal.
  • Brainstorm ideas that will help you reach this goal.  Write your ideas down and dont’ worry about whether they are perfect or not.
  • Prioritize your ideas from most vital to least; from most critical to least urgent.
  • Pick one idea to work on.  Work on it to completion.
  • Evaluate whether you need to do more to achieve your original goal. If so, begin the process again, if not, you have completed your goal.
  • Repeat the process as many times as necessary.

This approach is a practical way for leaders to systematically identify their goals and do specific things to achieve them.  Follow these steps repeatedly and, over time, and you will be building a positive way of creating success in your organization.  How will you get the process started?

Take care,


Team Building: Conflict in the Workplace

Conflict in the workplace can be painful and sap your energy.  My clients often ask me what to do about a employee who they can’t get along with or people who are in constant conflict.  It can be tricky to deal with workplace conflict because most organizations don’t have strategies beyond reprimands and other punishments.

Our workplaces sometimes seem like we give people a free pass to hurt each other.  We would like to think we know how to deal with conflict but we end up enduring feuds that last years.

So how can you reduce conflict in your workplace?  Here’s a couple of ideas to think about:

1. Develop a strategy to deal with conflict.  Set up clear goals, expectations and parameters and ask for input from leadership and staff.

2. Inform everyone that this is the new way of doing things and train them to make sure everyone is on the same page.

3. Inform your workplace that you have resources in place to help people work things out.

4. Work with your leaders and employees to give them the skills to resolve their own conflicts.

5. Set the example and consistently behave in a way that reduces conflict.

6. Develop an ongoing conflict resolution training program and participate actively in it.

7. Expect resistance to your new ideas about conflict.  Things will settle in once you train people and they get a chance to practice the new skills.

Healthy workplaces help their leaders and employees resolve their own conflicts in peaceful and lasting ways.  As a leader, you set the example for how conflict is viewed and dealt with in your organization.  You can start designing a conflict resolution program today that will help you create a workplace where people get along and aren’t at each other’s throats all the time.  Where will you start?

Take care,


Practical Ideas to Deal with Workplace Conflict

Conflict can hold your organization back in many ways including reduced productivity, poor morale and lack of team cohesiveness.  Many businesses try to get rid of conflict but are missing the key ingredient that increases the odds of success.  This mysterious element is simply having a plan and practice.  It’s important to remember that conflict arises due to issues that are bubbling under the surface.  People get caught up in their egos, perceived slights or power/control issues that keep them from interacting in positive ways.

Organizations try to get rid of these dynamics through discipline or by reading people the HR manual but there is a more effective approach that look at the deeper challenges: formulating a plan and practicing it.  As you try to resolve conflict in your workplace, think about the following ideas and how you will practice them consistently.

  • Identify the issue.  Do you know what the conflict is about?
  • Develop skills to deal with workplace conflict.  Do you have the skills necessary to deal with conflict without escalating it?
  • Design a strategy to minimize conflict.  Do you have a plan to continue defusing conflict in the future?
  • Commitment.  Do you have an ongoing strategy that will ensure future success?

Conflict is a signal that something is not going right in the workplace.  When I work with organizations we talk about reducing conflict by offering people the opportunity to deal with each other on a different level.  You can get rid of conflict in the workplace by putting together a plan of action and practicing it over time.

You’ll enjoy the increased productivity and improved morale that comes from dealing with conflict once and for all.  All it takes is your commitment to start the process and stick to it.  How will you begin dealing with conflict in your workplace?

Take care,


Inspirational Leaders Get Stuck Less

It’s really normal to get stuck in a pattern, even if it’s negative, because you’re used to it and it feels normal.  You take this pattern for granted and just live with it.

For many leaders the key to getting unstuck is to do something differently. If you’ve had some kind of negative result in your workplace, doing something different may be just what you need to change the situation.  The very act of interrupting the routine can set in motion all kinds of changes.  There is one caveat, this process requires committing to doing something different over time until the new behavior takes root.

Try focusing on something that’s not going so well in your workplace and doing something differently. Repeat the new behavior over time until it becomes your new “normal.”  Lather, rinse and repeat until you and everyone else gets used to it and good at doing it.  This approach can be applied to any number of issues but try focusing on one at a time until you become an expert at creating positive changes in your workplace.  Where will you start getting unstuck?

Take care,