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Mindful : December 2014
58 mindful December 2014 Working faster, smarter, cheaper is good business. But how do we also keep our collective sanity intact along the way? At Work Michael Carroll worked for over two decades on Wall Street and in the publishing industry. He is now a business coach and author of Awake at Work. He is a regular contributor to Mindful’s At Work advice column. Work seems to have only one agenda: suc- cess. We work to achieve results and in turn get rewarded. Pretty straightfor wa rd. But work, like all of life, is never so sim- ple. If we examine our pursuit of success we’ll notice it always comes with another agenda: a need for emotional well-being. Too often, we ignore this “well-being agenda” a nd the results can be disturbing: 50% of us say we were insulted at work within the last 24 hours, often by our bosses. 40% worr y about being mistreated. Many switch jobs because of such work- place incivility. The result: We may be getting the job done but too often we go home feeling mis- treated, demoralized, and fr ustrated. Our at-work relationships are sub-pa r at best. Enterprises that attend to both success and emotional well-being tend to foster truly distinctive and inspiring cultures. And when we witness such health and well-being we know it. Whether it’s being ser ved coffee at Starbucks, receiv- ing packages from a UPS tr uck driver, or co-developing new products with Proctor & Gamble, when human hearts are aligned with work, success is both a challenge a nd a joy. And the best place to start is to work with the conflicts that arise in our own relationships at work. Practice DE-TOXIFYING CONFLICTS 1. Recognize the challenge We can unwittingly confuse an emotional agenda with the issues at hand. Be clear about the actual work challenge so you can actively focus on the need for emotional well-being. CASE: Your employee, John, is upset that management put his plan on hold. 2. Attune to the “emotional agenda” and model emotional well-being Acknowledge what the person feels. Listen unconditionally. Appreciate their aspirations and concerns. ”John, you worked hard on that plan, it took guts, and it hur ts to have it sidelined.” 3. Reframe problems constructively Negative emotions can trans- form simple problems into threats; challenges into ordeals. Invite people’s creativity to reshape challenges, redefine goals, rethink roadblocks, and generally place problems in constructive frames. “I’m not sure you should give up on this project so quickly. There’s lots to learn here. Have you thought of a thorough ‘debrief’ of the plan? Good ideas could come out.” 4. Set a tone for future collaboration Finally, make working construc- tively together more likely in the future. “ While this has been tough news, John, I appreciate our work together and want you to know you can count on me in the future. getting started: relationships