12 Ways to Reduce Workplace Struggles

12 Ways to Reduce Workplace Struggles

Does going to work sometimes (or often) feel like you’re headed into battle? Do you feel like you have to fight “the powers that be” every day just to be able to do your job properly? Do you feel a great deal of resistance from others? Are you discouraged because you feel that no matter how hard you try, no one is listening to you? Does there seem to be a lot of unnecessary drama or angst in your workplace? Do you ever wish that work – and/or the people you work with – weren’t such a struggle?

I can relate to all of the above. At different times in my multi-career life, I have experienced all of those scenarios – and more. Those situations and environments are terribly draining – and usually unnecessary. But if you don’t know what to do to break out of them, they can bring you down physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. The good news is that there are practical ways to minimize those feelings of struggle in the workplace – and in life.

Recently I read an article about personal relationships that described how one couple refuses to experience the day-to-day differences and disappointments that are part of married life as struggles. Instead, they have chosen to work through the rocky times with humor or laughter instead of with resentment or negativity.

Since reducing one’s struggles in life sounded good to me, I wondered how to apply that suggestion to the workplace. Although humor and laughter certainly may reduce tension and provide some relief from one’s feelings of struggle, they may not work for everyone, or be appropriate in every situation. So here are a dozen other suggestions for substitutions that you can make that will help to reduce or minimize your struggles in the workplace.

Instead of this approach…

…substitute this one

1.

Presume that others have bad intentions

1.

Presume good intent, even when history shows it’s not always justified

2.

Take a judgmental approach to people, ideas, and situations

2.

Approach people and ideas with a sense of curiosity

3.

Shrink from, or try to avoid, challenges

3.

Embrace challenges for the opportunities they bring

4.

Foster a distrustful, “us vs. them” norm or culture

4.

Show by your actions that we’re all on the same team

5.

Look for reasons why things won’t work

5.

Ask how things could work

6.

Insist on perfection

6.

Imperfect success is good enough

7.

Give in to your need to show you’re right, or that you’re the smartest person in the room

7.

Check your ego at the door

8.

Force compliance on people by virtue of your authority

8.

Enable commitment by substituting personal power for position power

9.

Make everything a competition

9.

Seek collaboration

10.

Take a “my way or the highway” approach

10.

Provide options and welcome new ideas

11.

See the “glass” as half empty

11.

See the “glass” as half full

12.

Choose victimhood

12.

Make and take ownership of healthy choices

Which of the above approaches resonates the most with you? I challenge you to find just one that you think with work for you, and give it a try. You might just improve the quality of your life dramatically by minimizing your struggles!

Pat Lynch, Ph.D., is President of Business Alignment Strategies, Inc., a consulting firm that helps clients optimize business results by aligning people, programs, and processes with organizational goals. You may contact Pat or call (562) 985-0333.


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