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What Is The Powerful Truth About Making Toxic Friends at Work?

We’ve all been there. We’ve all had a job that either kept us so busy that we didn’t know how to keep up or we just felt like we couldn’t handle being there one more minute, let alone one more day. So, how do we cope? Most of us would say by complaining, right? The Cut ran an article on April 22, 2019 discussing how complaining turns co-workers into friends.

I think most of us can relate to this since we’ve had at least one job in our careers that we didn’t love or wasn’t the right fit. Let’s take a look at why this is important and how it’s also a sign of something much bigger.

Forming Friendships in the Workplace

Forming bonds is healthy and a not only a necessary part of maintaining a healthy work-life balance, but it can also become a coping a mechanism. When we are carefully forming those bonds around those that we work with and getting to know each other, what we are really doing is evaluating each other and our values to see if we trust each other enough to share those complaints. Once we do, then it becomes a close friendship because there is a deep level of trust.

Complaining has been said to be a good way to develop friendships in the workplace. Using work-related complaints to acquire those friendships also can feel less risky than discussing personal topics to get to know our fellow co-workers.

However, what don’t we know about forming friendships in the workplace? Is there more than what meets the eye?

Yes.

Complaining spreads like wildfire and can infect teams and a workplace. It can keep morale down and keep even the best employees from being productive.

According to the Harvard Business Journal, corporate culture is a powerful driver of human thought and behavior. It tells us what is revered and profane, what is right and wrong, good and bad. Corporate culture is what keeps us in line and ensures that we say, think, and do the right thing. “Right” is defined by our tribe, which is oftentimes our organizations. However, what happens when our tribe- and our organization are toxic?

Learning to Recognize A Toxic Work Culture  

The problem with getting to know someone in this way- by complaining- is that we are not fully getting to know them. So, how do we know if someone is a toxic employee?

Start by looking for the “dark triad”. Those with the tendency to exhibit one set of specific traits, which are known as the dark triad, oftentimes tend to be toxic employees or leaders.

  • Narcissism is the first one within this triad. It is defined as having an extreme interest or admiration in one’s self. Narcissistic people have trouble connecting to organizational values and accepting a team-focused mindset because they are absorbed solely on their own needs and ambitions.
  • Machiavellianism is the second one. This is the megalomaniac and ethically ambiguous mindset who typically keep valuable information to themselves that could benefit others in the organization, pit different groups against each other, and make a group of friends while excluding others from their social circle.
  • Psychopathy is the last within the triad. This is an inability to appropriately deal with negative emotions and impulses.

Some additional signs of a toxic employee include:

  • An individual who has been moved around a lot within the company, teams, divisions, etc.
  • Hypercompetitive employees who step over each other to pursue their goals.
  • Individuals who blame others for issues and problems, that they in fact, caused themselves.
  • Individuals who are overly critical of their peers, subordinates, managers, or leadership.
  • An individual who hordes information and doesn’t act with full transparency or integrity.

What Happens If Your “Friend” is Toxic?

  • Take care of yourself first. You know that old saying “put your oxygen mask on first”? It absolutely applies here. What do you need to be happy, productive, and effective to thrive in your career? It’s not just about survival and dealing with the toxic co-workers; think of how you can thrive in your career.
  • Repair Relationships. A toxic work culture can drive to behave in ways that we may not have ever imagined. We can harm relationships inside and outside the workplace. Repair them- and then begin to take responsibility by your own actions and attitudes and hold yourself accountable. It’s easy to be the individual who always complains and criticizes but it’s not easy to be the person who expects more and drives for something exceptional.
  • Form an alliance. The important part is to keep this going and to make lasting changes. Plan some meetings with your co-workers, your manager, and/ or boss and keep the lines of communication open and discussion going. Take purposeful steps to articulate shared values as well as collective rules of engagement to guide everyone’s behavior.

Instituting a new culture doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, it can take some time because it requires changes in behavior. Remember, the next time you sit down with your co-worker to complain and criticize that it could have powerful consequences and negatively impacting those around you more than you may realize.

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Want to reach career bliss? Book a career coaching strategy session today!

Is This What Happens When Your Workplace Stress Disappears?

April is National Stress Awareness Month. It is important that during this time, we discuss what we can do to decrease our levels. However, what about workplace stress? According to the American Institute of Stress, there are numerous studies which show that workplace stress is the major source of stress for American adults and that it has progressively escalated over the past few decades. Increased levels of job stress have been associated with increased rates of heart attacks, hypertension, and other disorders. What are some of the main causes of this stress? 46% cite their workload, 28% mention people issues, 20% state juggling work and their personal lives, and 6% believe it is a lack of job security.

How Does Stress Affect Your Career & Your Wellbeing?

Stress is a highly personalized experience and can vary widely, even in identical situations for various reasons. One’s job stress and the severity of it is dependent on the extent of the demands that are being made and the individual’s sense of control or decision-making leeway is provided in dealing with them. There are scientific studies based on this model, which confirm that employees who sense that they are subjected to high demands but have little control are at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

It also has been found that occupations do not really matter because some individuals thrive in different types of fast-paced or slow-paced types of occupations. In other words, the type of role for an individual is very key to their levels of stress and managing them. This is why finding your dream career can also change your life.

Finding Your Dream Job Leads to a Healthier Life

Yes, this is true! Is it worth it to put your health and life at risk everyday just to stay in a position that makes us feel bored, anxious, stressed, or frustrated – and ultimately, unhappy? No, it’s not. You may think that it’s impossible to find a career that you love and doesn’t leave you feeling drained or unfulfilled but that’s simply not true. Your own happiness and fulfillment should be enough reason to make a switch, however, if it’s not- living a longer life should be.

What are some reasons that a fulfilling career leads to a healthier and happier life? Let’s take a look at some.

  • Loving your work- and where you spend most of your waking hours is bound to make you happier. There is at least one study that cites older individuals with more positive moods were 35% less likely to die within the next 5 years. This verifies that the happier you are, the longer you will likely live.
  • Fuel your purpose. We all have a purpose and figuring this out is one of the keys. Also, understanding that loving work and it is the greatest service that we can provide to others and to society, is important. Living with a purpose is critical to living a healthy life.
  • Enjoying your job produces less stress and anxiety. If stress is the #1 killer, then this plays right into it. 85% of people HATE their job. That’s 9 in 10 people worldwide who don’t enjoy what they’re doing daily. Stress is a direct result of spending most of your waking hours doing work that does not produce joy, satisfaction, or reflects your strengths. If this is you, then it is time to seek a new career before it continues to affect your health.
  • Being challenged is preferred to boredom. I speak to a lot of job candidates and most prefer challenging work over boredom. A mental challenge comes from loving your work, whereas, boredom stems from a lack of engagement. Mental alertness and consistently facing mental challenges keep your mind sharp and keeps you motivated and happy.
  • Like attracts like. Having your dream career allows you to attract other people, opportunities, and a sense of community. It has been shown that those with more social connections live longer those counterparts who socialize less. If you feel better about yourself, you are more likely to make an active effort towards connecting with others as well as attracting those like-minded individuals to fuel those bonds.

In short, if you are unhappy with your career, then taking control of your health and stress levels is very much worth it. Our workplaces may be a major source of our stress; however, we have control over if we want to remain in a dead-end, thankless, unfulfilled position that gives you a case of the “Sundays blues” every evening and every weekend.

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Want to reach career bliss? Book a career coaching strategy session today!

What Happens When Women in Tech Speak Up?

This week, according to Vox, the women at Microsoft are calling it a toxic place to work as alleged discrimination and harassment cases begin to surface after an internal email chain was made public.

The tech industry has long-held the reputation for mistreating their female employees, assigning them what I call “busy work”, and not taking their careers seriously. While women make up over half the workforce, we certainly have a way to go in the tech industry. Inc. recently published some data on the status of women in tech:

  • Women average only 30% of the workforce across major tech companies.
  • This 30% includes both technical and non-technical jobs, such as HR and marketing. Women can’t even hit 20% when it comes to technical jobs at tech companies. They hold merely 17 percent of the tech jobs at Google, 15 percent at Facebook, and only 10 percent at Twitter.
  • Out of the 41 of the Fortune 500 companies in the tech industry, only 5 have a female CEO.
  • Women hold just 14.3% of board seats of the top 100 tech companies.
  • Men are 2 times as likely to be hired for a role in math when the only difference between candidates is their gender, according to a 2013 study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
  • Approximately 40% of women with engineering degrees either don’t enter the field at all or quit soon thereafter. In addition, women in tech with business degrees also have the tendency to quit the industry before rising in rank.

With stats such as these, women have it hard enough to launch their careers in tech- let alone to seek advancement while dealing with alleged harassment.

More than likely, the women who work at Microsoft involved in this complaint are facing an uphill battle and my advice is to also consider your own well-being and careers.

This recent news indicates that Microsoft may have a culture problem. Once sexual harassment complaints are made and allegedly ignored, it is a sign that an organization needs to start taking steps to not only rectify the issues with its female workforce but to initiate cultural change and work with its senior leadership towards what they want their male workforce to represent. Consistently denying women promotions while men are running circles around them advancing and they’re only doing secretarial work is toxic. In addition, sexual harassment is demeaning and can do a lot of damage to one’s psyche.

As someone who dealt with sexual harassment in the workplace only to have it denied and told it was “my fault”- it creates the most impossible circumstances to work and succeed in. I had projects rejected, was told that my work was sub-par, and that I wasn’t ever going to succeed. It became clear to me that change was not on the horizon, let alone in the cards- so I took my career into my own hands instead of letting it be defined it for me.

Women’s caliber is equal to their male counterparts and they are deserving of so much more and there are organizations who be happy to have them as part of their workforce.

If these allegations are true, Microsoft needs to take active steps towards changing its corporate culture, such as Uber did.

Anyone who understands corporate culture, knows that it refers to the beliefs and behaviors which determine how an organization’s employees and management interact. It develops organically over time from the traits of the individuals an organization hires. This accumulation of traits is what can make an organization evolve and become one that is less focused on equality, diversity, and the advancement of women. However, senior leadership plays an important role by embodying the change that they want to see, caring about its employees’ well-being, and creating a workplace in which everyone can thrive while carrying out the organizational mission and values.

If these are allegations are true, this is where Microsoft needs to make deep-seeded changes because their culture has evolved over time and it now reflects the traits of those hires that are sexually harassing women, rather than those that are there to do good work.

These ladies are taking the first step by making their voices heard within Microsoft and the tech industry. They are talented, bright, and accomplished women who have a solid future in front them.

To them, I say, don’t give up.

Even if your company chooses not to hear you, there are women who do and appreciate your efforts towards making change and speaking up. I hear you and I am with you even if you don’t realize it.

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Want to reach career bliss? Book a career coaching strategy session today!

Build Your Tribe and Gain Clients Through Fun & Interactive Quizzes

We all love those quizzes that tell us about our personality types, how hard we hustle, or which profession you should choose.

How about the Buzzfeed quiz that tells you to grade yourself in a bunch of subjects and it tells what GPA you will graduate with? Or the one that lets you buy stuff for your dorm room and it tells you which job you choose after college? Or one of my favorites… plan your dream life and it reveals which bad ass woman from history you are?

If you’re not nodding in agreement by now…. I’m not so sure I believe you! These are so much fun and a great way to build connections and engagement.

Quizzes such as these are an amazing tool for your business to connect with potential clients and fans. It is so much fun to learn about yourself, even if it is in a humorous way.

One of the best part of these quizzes? They can be designed to fit your audience and your business niche. Here’s how you can do that based on your brand in coaching and consulting using Interact.

Giving Your Audience What They Want to Know

In the coaching and consulting industry, it is important not to begin teaching people about themselves before they are ready to hear it. If you tell them too soon, they probably will not listen to you. Or they may try it themselves and it will likely backfire.

With Interact, your audience can learn more about themselves, what they should do, and how they do it. These quizzes provide an opportunity not only to engage with potential clients and fans but to show them what they should do and how they should do it based on their own responses.
If you are a coach and consultant, particularly one in the Career and Leadership fields like I am, your main go-to is ensuring employment for your clients. Whether that’s just in the form of a resume, personal branding, LinkedIn, or a coaching program- your clients want to know that you know can guide them towards securing employment and advancement.

So, what can you tie into what your audience wants to know about themselves or learn about? Remember, you can’t teach people too much before they are ready. It’s best to teach them about your services and how your business solves their problems. For example, I would want to know about the services that are offered and how they differ from those of other coaches and consultants. Such as:

  •  Career Coaching
  • Leadership Coaching
  • Resume Writing
  •  Personal Branding
  • HR Consulting
  •  Management Consulting

Connect with Your Audience

How do these services connect with your employees on a personal level? Affect them? Impact their lives?
Interact has easy to use and edit templates, which are adaptable to you and your business. There are quizzes that are based on personality or branding and further break off from there into a scored quiz, assessment, or personality. These provide opportunities for your audience to learn about themselves, the value of your services, and how it impacts them.

After you have selected your type, you can easily select a template and add your branding information, such as your logo.
The most difficult and time-consuming part of creating the quiz is writing the questions and answers. They must excite and intrigue your audience to engage with the quiz.

Show Them the Services They Want and Need

This can be done through the quiz results, which are also customizable. Interact allows its users to map out which responses correspond to which result. This also helps to build your tribe. Interact allows users to enter their email address to receive their results.
By doing so it also allows you to collect their email addresses. Interact also integrates with whatever email platform you use. This allows you to set up specific funnels and triggers based on results.

So, if you want to market to leads for career coaching then once you have those email addresses, you can set up funnels and send automatic emails with calls-to-action for to schedule for that service.
One of the most important parts is to keep the quizzes fun and engaging.

Shareable + Fun= Success

To create a successful quiz, it should be something fun and easy to share.
Interact is the solution to create, customize, and share your own quiz. They are easy to share on social media and you can use them to create ads on different platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook. Quizzes can be embedded on your site, added to your newsletter, a blog, or used as social media content. The idea is to get more people to take your quiz to broaden your reach or audience.

Get started with yours today by clicking here!