One big reason I believe many of us have difficulty setting healthy boundaries at work is that we fear losing our job, being passed up for promotion, damaging a professional relationship, or some other negative consequence. While these fears might sometimes be legitimate, they are often exaggerated. How can we evaluate our hesitation with more objectivity and speak up when it’s important, even though we may still feel nervous?
Joe LaSala is Vice President of Marketing at Analytic Partners. He speaks in very practical terms about how crucial good following is to business, both for himself and for those he supervises. He also helped me to see how an emphasis on competent work, the realm of followers, helps to define success in terms of long-term, sustainable productivity for both clients and employees, rather than in terms of short-term gain or a race to an IPO.
Arguments are never fun, but more importantly, they are usually a colossal waste of time and energy. Different from productive disagreement, which can actually be a creative process in itself, an argument occurs when we stop listening to one another and simply defend opposing positions. What keeps us stuck in an argument with another person is usually the same thing that keeps us stuck in our own minds: black and white thinking.
I don’t know anyone who likes this topic – it generates an almost universal “ick” response. And although most of us receive feedback at our jobs on a regular basis, it is often a challenge for our minds to distinguish between criticism of our work and criticism of our self. This is why, I believe, we dread, or feel the need to “steel ourselves,” before these conversations.
There are many useful models for decision making, but what I’d like to highlight in this post are the patterns of thinking that often lead to decision paralysis in the first place. Do you tend to climb on that hamster wheel of information gathering, advice seeking, and pro vs con lists? Are you extremely concerned about which path is the most efficient, advantageous, economical, realistic, or otherwise the RIGHT decision? This post is for you.
As I explore the concept of followership in the workplace, one skill has popped up again and again as simultaneously the most critical and also the most difficult: setting boundaries. Setting boundaries, of course, is not only for work - we all need to set healthy boundaries for ourselves in many aspects of our lives, regardless of whether we’re playing the roles of leader or follower. Professionally speaking, though, I see boundary setting as a followership skill because it primarily addresses the execution of individual or collective labor, whereas leadership qualities tend to address the organization of that labor.
Do you ever feel that physical or emotional sensations are simply “happening to you,” and that you don’t have much control over them? When you feel tense, anxious, angry, frustrated, or anything else, does it seem that you have no choice in the matter, even if a part of you would truly prefer to feel differently?
All work is creative, no matter what your job description. No matter what you are producing or generating, whether it be digital, material, or ephemeral, you are a creator. Once we begin to look at our jobs this way, a new line of inquiry sometimes appears: What are we creating? Is it something we consciously chose? Is it something we enjoy or feel satisfaction from? Are we making a contribution that we consider valuable?
This week, rather than sharing my own thoughts, I'd like to share three contemporary books of non-fiction that have recently held me in rapt attention on the couch, night after night. If you are looking for a comforting, inspiring companion during these turbulent times, you cannot do better than inviting one of these three authors into your home.
Sure, I could drag over a chair and climb up, but my tall husband is usually happy to help retrieve a teapot or vase more quickly. Friends or partners helping each other in this way feels reciprocal and satisfying, at least when relationships are healthy. It actually strengthens our social bond.
I truly do believe that Amy and I were guided to connect here in LA by some unseen, intelligent life force. Her yoga classes kept my body and spirit integrated throughout my intense graduate school years. Post-degree, I completed her yoga teacher training in 2014, and her empowerment coaching certification in 2016. Each of these intensive learning experiences with Amy, without question, made me a more courageous, creative, and compassionate person.
It’s almost a cliché to say, “trust yourself,” when beginning any new endeavor, but I find it’s tricky to pin down in terms of concrete experience. How, exactly, do I trust myself on purpose? What is it I’m trusting, anyway? Changes of any kind, even good ones, can trigger our survival instincts and release various flavors of anxiety and doubt. When we’re feeling any degree of fear, it’s not obvious how to find our way back to ease, confidence, or trust.