Tag Archive | positive

Create A Supportive Work Environment with Your Ears

Greetings Temptime Readers,

I love this article as I have put it into practice at work and at home over and over again.  Listening has become an important tool in my relationship treasure chest.  People often just need a safe place to vent frustrations and we all need to feel safe with the people with whom we work and live.


“Sometimes Listening Well is All the Action Needed”
Peter H. Schmidt, Lifting Mind Inc.

During the early days at Midnight Networks, when four of us shared one 10’x15′ office, we hashed out our decisions as a group. We were committed to reaching the best decision we could, so we stuck with the discussions until we had reached a satisfactory conclusion, even when it would have been easier to just throw in the towel. Because we were all engineers, it was important to us that our decisions be soundly reasoned and the logic agreed upon.

Likewise, as engineers we also were prone to occasionally sharing our opinions in the form of sweeping generalizations. “That compiler is total garbage!” “Only a complete idiot could have designed this protocol!” Now, this was usually a harmless indulgence, and in a cooler moment we would have readily admitted that sweeping generalizations are logically suspect. The trouble happened when one of these statements recommended that an action be taken.

One day one of my co-founders said, “We should never do business with those incompetent cretins again!” after a particularly frustrating incident of non-service from a service provider. He approached me with a full head of steam, swept out his generalization, and waited for me to concur.

Problem was, I didn’t concur. Being the cooler head at that moment, I felt that this incident was no worse than you might expect to experience periodically with them or any of their competitors, and therefore switching our business would cost us time and effort for no real gain. So I started in to put these points across, and I wasn’t going to be satisfied until he saw the soundness of my logic. In the end, I believe he did concede that their incompetence could not be wholly complete, and that they were not, in fact, cretinous 100% of the time, and hence perhaps we should continue to do some business with them. But neither of us came out of the discussion feeling very good, even though we’d abided by our principles, talked it out, tested the logic and reached consensus. What was the problem?

Eventually, I learned the lesson: often in decision-making situations where emotions are running high, what people need most is to be carefully listened to by the decision-makers. That’s all.

At first, this felt dishonest to me. If someone presents their views on a topic and I disagree, shouldn’t I surface that disagreement so we can examine our differences and resolve them? Furthermore, if someone recommends a course of action, and I decide on the opposite, don’t I need to close the loop with them, explain my reasoning and make sure they concur?

Surprisingly, I have concluded that often the correct answer to both questions is “no.” In these situations, what people are looking for is the respect of being heard. You give them that by listening carefully, repeating back to them what you’ve heard to make sure you got it right, and promise to take their input into account. You earn their trust this way, so if you do decide to go in a different direction, they will follow you without complaint.

Should you try to go back and “close the loop,” explaining why you didn’t follow their recommendation, you will find you have reopened the can of worms. You may be able to effectively articulate the logic for your decision, but since they don’t share your authority, responsibilities or all of your information, they are unlikely to get the same gut-feeling of correctness at the end of the logic chain. You will have taken an employee or co-worker who was pleased to have given his/her input and made them uneasy at best, ticked off at worst.

It still surprises me in a way, but listening to one thing and doing another – without closure – is sometimes the best thing to do.

Top 10 Ways to Accentuate the Positive in the Workplace

Smile. The economy is making a comeback!

Understandably, this statement may be a challenge to digest in light of reports from The Wall Street Journal that nearly one in three unemployed people have been out of work for more than a year, and headlines about massive job cuts from major corporations.

None-the-less, statistics from the U.S. Labor Department show that unemployment rates have dropped to 15.8% from 15.9% in recent months, and new national and state-wide Job Plans are on the horizon. Sure, the economy is improving slowly at best; however, do you remember the story of the Tortoise & The Hare? Slow and steady WINS THE RACE!

Still, the reality of being unemployed, under-employed, over-worked, underpaid, or unappreciated at work can certainly be wearing on us in more ways than one. According to The YOU Docs, Doctor Oz and Doctor Roizen, “the shaky economy’s ratcheting up workday stress for 70 percent of us.” These Docs go on to stress how this infects our home life, is a health threat, and just bad for business.

Well. Here’s the latest headline, hot off the presses:

You Can Improve Your Mood & Stay Positive at Work!

Just by reading this article, you are already on

the path to positivity!

Here’s a countdown of the

Top 10 Ways to Accentuate the Positive in the Workplace:

10. Stay Present – This means Stay in the Moment, perhaps by making time to Plan Your Day, breaking down your workload into more manageable bits, or taking things one task at a time. Indeed, remaining present will help you be less anxious, and more focused on the big picture, and what’s truly important.

9. Breathe – Deeply. Yes. It really IS that simple. Whether at a meditation class during lunchtime (ask Debra about this one!), or simply taking a moment at your desk–eyes opened or closed–to breathe in & out, slowly, staying aware of your breath, DOES help!

8. Be Well – Eat Well. Sleep Well. Exercise. Making your health a priority will allow you to Stay Well, Stay Present, and Not Sweat the Small Stuff (as much!)

7. Decorate to Accentuate – In ways that you can, add some personal flair, pizzazz, or comforts of home to your workplace. Favorite colors, pictures of family & friends, artwork, even flowers can do wonders to lift your spirits at work!


6. Get Up, Get Out, & MOVE! – Getting up and away from your desk, stretching, walking around the block, getting some sun (Vitamin D if you please!), and just switching it up will help you de-stress, and re-focus!

5. Avoid Office Gossip – This includes “Office Politics”, and negative “Water Cooler Chatter”. Being and/or convening with a Negative Nancy is Bad News Bears.   Period.

4. List Your Job Benefits – Now, this doesn’t just mean your pension plan, although that certainly is a positive! Be it health care, steady income, learning new skills, interacting with others, opportunities to network, or increased independence, listing the benefits of your job helps keep even a seemingly unbearable work situation in perspective.

3. Proclaim the Positive! – Even in the most dreary of job situations, it helps to take note of the aspects of your job that actually give you joy, and a sense of accomplishment. This may include being able to provide for yourself and/or your family, being able to help others, or even just knowing that you are good at what you do!

2. Stop & Smell the Roses – Seriously. Whether you take this literally, and take pause as you walk to smell a sweet rose bud, or more symbolically as you share a laugh with a co-worker, this holistic approach will improve your mood, and warm your heart.

1. Work with Purpose! – Find meaning in what you do everyday, even if it is job searching. Embrace an Attitude of Gratitude! Give yourself a pat on the back for sticking through the difficult times, being able to make a difference in people’s lives, and learning to appreciate were you are right now.

As Marie Stempinski, President and Founder of Strategic Communication, says:

“Life doesn’t just happen. You are in charge and can control how you react to everything that happens to and around you.”

And, when all else seems to fail, breathe again.

Things ARE getting better!