I was having a conversation the other day with a manager of a small business. We were discussing how to handle employee problems, and she mentioned when she has to address mistakes or bad behavior with employees she tends to have a short fuse and can be pretty harsh. After she said this, she immediately said: “But that is just the way I am, I’ve always been that way.”
I told her that she is choosing to be that way, she was not made that way and she can change this behavior. She was a bit stunned by my statement and became quiet. I told her that we have choices in what we say, how we say it, what we think and how we behave.
My remarks motivated us to start brainstorming. Together we identified some ways to increase self-awareness of our actions with the intended outcome that we would behave in a more professional and collegial manner at work and hopefully with increased harmony at home. These are our suggestions:
- Choose a positive outlook. Your thoughts make you who you are. You are responsible for your own actions and you have the ability to choose your response to your environment. If you make a conscious decision to begin each day with a positive outlook, negative situations that may come up cannot take that away unless you allow them to.
- Increase your self-awareness. Begin to better understand your emotional hot buttons. Examine how you make judgments about the things that happen. Tune into your senses, get in touch with your feelings, learn what your intentions are and pay attention to your actions.
- Motivate yourself on a daily basis. Motivate yourself by striving to meet your own criteria for success. Instead of relying on external validation, focus on using your job as the means for achieving your big-picture career objective.
She agreed that she needed to make some changes. I’m looking forward to speaking with her in the future to see how she is doing to make herself a better manager for her employees and hopefully a happier person for herself. It is important to remember we have choices, so we need to choose them well to be the best person we can be.
“It always seems impossible until it is done.” ~ Nelson Mandela