Yesterday morning I started getting my garden ready to plant some onions and Georgian collard greens. It occurred to me that I was wearing gloves, usually I like working without gloves, because I like the feel of the soil on my hands and the connection with the plants, seeds and soil that comes with it. This is a legitimate feeling and a good one for that matter, but it comes at a price, dirt enters deep into your fingernails, your fingers, get pierced by sharp objects, your hands get cold during winter. After you are done gardening, you have to clean your hands thoroughly to get rid of all the dirt. Even after a thorough cleaning your hands are rough and callous for some time.
All these issues can be avoided by wearing gardening gloves. The advantages of gloves cannot be overemphasized, in the case of gardening you need physical gloves, but if you are working in corporate America you need to put on a pair of gloves each morning as you get ready to go to work. Working in the garden and working in corporate America may appear to have nothing in common, but there is a lot in common as you are about to discover.
In the garden you are dealing with, dirty soil, sharp objects in the soil and the potential of being hurt. In the corporate world, you are dealing with the potential of a toxic work environment, loaded with jealousy, strive, envy, discrimination, hatred, gossiping and bullying. You can agree with me that the likelihood that you can be emotionally and psychologically impacted is high. That is why you should make it a habit to put on a pair of gloves each day before heading to work. This will protect you from harassment, hatred, jealousy, envy, anger, victimization and many other perils associated with a toxic work environment. You can put a pair of solid cooperate work gloves by doing the following each day:
#1) Avoid negative conversations. Some people are experts in spreading negative information around the office. Make it a habit to always look at the bright side of things, for there are always two sides to every coin. Remind yourself that every situation has two possible outcomes, a positive and a negative one. Even if your company is going under and all of you are going to lose your jobs, you can still stay positive. Yes, you will suffer loss in the interim, but better doors will open in the long run. You cannot draw any conclusions about the future that you have not yet lived. Stay positive, speak positively and think positively to the best of your ability. Be bold enough to interject a positive thought when everyone else is being negative. In some extreme cases, change the topic of the discussion completely.
#2) Avoid office gossip. It feels good to hear about the failures, shortcomings, and calamities in other people’s lives, but it will leave a bad taste in your mouth. Think about the negative consequences of feeding your mind with information that is not healthy and may not be true. If you are approached by somebody who says, you should not tell others what they are about to tell you, calmly and softly tell them that you will tell others, for you are not a dumping ground. If they insist, tell them that you are not interested in hearing what they have to say. Do not forget that gossiping erodes trust among teams and it will eventually lead to a toxic work environment.
#3) Stop believing that in order to move up you have to pull others down. This attitude leads to dysfunctional teams. You want to move ahead at the expense of others. For example, if you find out a faster, cheaper and better way of getting results, you keep it to yourself, because according to you, sharing the information with others will make them equal to you. Remember Paul the Apostle said, “It is more blessed to give then to receive.” If you share information, encourage and mentor others you will be a winner in the end. Withholding information and bring others down in order to move ahead will create a toxic work environment and it will eventually hurt you and others.
#4) Focus on the big picture. You are part of a team and eventually part of a company. For you to succeed your team and the whole company has to succeed as well. That is why you have to be more than a team player, be a company player.
#5) Take responsibility for your actions. You are not at the mercy of anybody. It may appear that those who are harassing you, discriminating against you, hating you and gossiping about you have the upper hand. The truth is that you have the final say, for how you react to all these toxins will determine the final outcome. Do not let this toxin get to you, stay positive and refuse to drink from the fountain of hate and revenge. Paying back is a formula for disaster, avoid it at all cost.
#6) Pray. If you are a person who believes in prayer, you should pray for your job, colleagues, and management. According to Paul the apostle, “Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
Put on your gloves today and no matter how toxic your work environment is, you will thrive. If this has been helpful to you, please share your thoughts.
The IEM APPROACH is a holistic way of life; the physical and spiritual must be in synergy for real, lasting, and sustainable success.
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