A fast-paced world, full of people trying to dominate, with a lot of stress and energy wasted in a chaotic way of developing and sustaining somehow toxic relationships. Sounds familiar?
Well, it is not only you. According to Gallup research from 2019 – 68% of people are struggling with building productive and winning relationships with others in the workplace or their personal life.
We live in a complex society. And here we live with the thought for domination. No matter we show it or hide it, it is there. Maybe we do not show it in our workplace, but we want to dominate in our relationships while defining places to visit, food to buy or eat, etc.
In such an imbalanced environment we often fell into the trap of entering fights for domination, without knowing why we fight, or what will our win be.
This situation builds strong resistance skills in every one of us. And we continue with this resistance until it brings us to the end of a long or valued relationship. We know that we must stop at some point, to search for balance, but we often do not do it and transfer the guilt for our failure to others. Often this someone is our opponent, our boss, our relatives, or friends, etc.
In an established work environment, the usual suspected person for our failure is our supervisor, manager, or department head. They did not understand us, they were wrong, they did not support us, they left us to fail and feel miserable.
Most people live with these thoughts, hoping to lower the level of pressure and guilt in themselves. But all those people are just getting everything wrong. They try to transfer stress to others who are not responsible for their activities and try to find positive relieve in the delusion for being the only person who is right in the room.
Most leaders try to carry that guilt, investing time to change the environment and others, just to create comfort for these same people, until when they understand that the time and other resources invested were waste and then things get ugly.
What we need to understand that there are no guilt others must take for us. It is up to us to find a way to manage our relationships and create a productive environment while working in a balanced way with others. If the leader needs to invest a lot of time in balancing our relationship, then we must think about how our behavior and attitude may be the reason why everything happens.
In my work path, I have been in a similar situation several times. Blaming others for my mistakes and searching for an external factor to prove that my position is the only right position in the room. Hopefully, I have had a strong leader around me, who was a good coach and mentor and helped me to grow and change. From all these situations several rules have raised for me, that helped me to transform my position and vision for good. Here I am sharing with you the 5 rules that helped me, and people I have worked with to transform:
Turn to detective
Maybe you have been in such a situation. Everyone is telling you that things are OK, but you feel that something is missing, and people are not honest with you. It is not a surprise. According to Gallup research – 53% of people lie their colleagues to not hurt their feelings. That is why it is important to find a way to discover what your real state of mind and behavior is. This is called a blind spot. And to find yours you will need clues. These clues can come from your unconscious mind or through an external factor. I highly recommend that you find someone who is always honest with you and ask directly about their opinion. Understanding that you have blind spots and collecting information about them builds the ground for future success in the area.
Analyze the information through situations
We often fell in situations which effect we do not understand. These situations cause us to feel uncomfortable, but the reasons why they happened are often hidden for us. To understand them we need to focus on our behavior while being part of such situations. And we need to be honest with ourselves. While trying to change for good everyone needs to accept itself the way he or she is now. Trying to overlook or hide something from your behavior will not lead to a positive result but will move you again at the beginning of the process.
Analyze others behavior in the situations you have played a role
In our work, we interact with other human beings. These other people are sources of different information that we may need. To force the building of a productive environment we need to interact positively with them. To change our behavior, we need to understand other perspectives and points of view and adapt our behavior to the specifics of the situation. The best way to do this is to start communicating with patience and collect information to help us build our behavior style that answers the situation specifics. To do that our first action must be to collect the information, but the second step must lead us to critical analysis of the information we have collected, including not only others’ behavior, but also ours. One often forgotten element of the analysis is our behavior. People somehow “comfortable forget” their actions, behavior, and words and judge others. But to be honest with yourself and build the best response model, you will need to include yourself in the situation you are analyzing. Nothing more or less than that can help you build a balanced positive collaboration
Put yourself in the other shoes
I have often heard the phrase “He’s or her behavior is not my problem”. There is nothing more wrong than that phrase. We live in a society and world where one’s behavior is often the trigger for someone else response. Understanding that can help you understand the other person’s behavior. According to an APA survey from 2015 – 95% of people’s reactions are based on the stimulus that comes from elements in the situation they are in. Our need to be safe and secure activates us and makes us act in a way only we understand. If our way of acting is like the one established in the group or the community, we are part from, then it is positively accepted. But if our way of acting to a stimulus, differs from the norms established around us, then we are disruptors of the balance. To form an adequate response to stimulus in a situation, we need to understand the other side’s behavior and what triggered them do behave in such away. Understanding other actions and accepting them is a positive step in direction building sustainable, adequate, productive, and positive response to the environmental specifics
Know where and when to stop
When you start your search for a better relationship with others, you will need to set up your limits. There is no need to push yourself and others to the limits if you do not see any light in the tunnel. In some cases (more than 23% according to a Gallup International survey from 2018) things are just not working. Maybe the reason is in you, or others around you have created an environment where your and their values do not match, etc. A brave and grown-up decision is to know where to stop. You need to accept that you cannot change any situation or any person. In my experience, I have had several situations where I invested a lot of time, effort, and energy and nothing changed. In one of the cases, I have invested almost two years with a person, who admitted that I want to change, but deeply in its heart was not ready to make the personal step. This person insisted that everyone else around it changes, but it was deeply convinced that it is the only right person in the room. In this situation, with trying to be a good leader, humble, and understanding, I generated a lot of pressure in my team, while trying to convince myself that the one person who is toxic and doesn’t want to change has to be part of that team. In the end, we finished with a very hard talk, where this same person blamed everyone around her about its mistakes and even admitted that our team has never been her team and that she never wanted to be part of a team, but play solo. That conversation ended our relationship but brought many questions about the time and energy invested in a wasted relationship-building process. That is why this last step needs to make you think about where and when you will need to set up your limit. And when reaching to that point you do not have to return but continue straight forward. Going back only generates additional stress and destroys team morale and integrity
We often seek for complex decisions of, particularly simple situations. The modern workplace has become an arena where people meet and try to dominate for success. The organizational culture nowadays is led by a consumer selfish behavior, that often generates conflicts. The role of the leader in these times has rapidly changed. He or she is not the one with the authority, but the one who can balance in the workplace, while planning and achieving higher results, trough it is and its teamwork. The arena, created in the workplace, often puts offenders and defenders of the norms. The best way to survive in this environment is to build adaptable, but lead from the values approach including not only yourself and your needs, but also everyone else needs, understandings and values, and searching for the best way to balance them for good.