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What you need to know about COVID-19: August 14, 2020
There is a percentage of people who can go to work, and by lunch time their r-battery or personal resilience, is drained. This can occur for many reasons, a toxic boss, toxic colleagues or unreal expectations of your daily workload.
I have come to realize people will doubt themselves and may not feel they are “resilient”. This is not always the case. Even the most resilient people in a depleting environment can lose power quickly. Only a small percentage of people can withstand this throughout their career, and they are few and far between.
I consult in many different workplaces and environments and I consistently see drained people. I feel for these people and groups. It can be frustrating to watch and listen to employees who are at risk of mental and/or physical symptoms. Employees already dealing with such symptoms as they head into work are at high risk of going off work.
The question is, what to do? You can listen to some motivation speakers, and even friends may say, ‘well, just quit’. If it was only that easy. Quitting can be one of the worst decisions to make as having structure in your life, and a paycheque, may be holding it together for you. You may trade one set of r-battery depleters for a whole new set, which may even be worse. There is no simple formula or easy answer, a magic wand cannot be waved to make everything better.
I don’t have a profound answer but here are a few suggestions if you are going home every day depleted from your work.
Wait it out. It may not be a quick fix but if you are dealing with depleting toxic people, stay optimistic they may move on. I have a family member who pointed out they had nine directors in 15 years. Some good, some not so good. He got through the not-so-good directors by staying optimistic the situation would change.
Honest conversation. There are about a thousand books on having difficult conversations. This solution is not made for all. Some will never be comfortable enough to have a conversation with someone who is affecting them. If you do feel you can, remember a few of these points. Book a time with the person, have a third party to just listen in, and stay objective with your language. Try to avoid subjectivity and judgement. “You were being a jerk”, might not be the best statement. A conversation could go something like this: “It frustrates me when you ...... and it can have a negative effect on my work”. It sounds a bit like marriage counseling, and it’s similar. This is a relationship you are in and humans have emotions. Stating this may allow for clarity and start the self-awareness the person you are dealing with needs.
Be a change agent. Coordinate a workshop on having difficult conversations, suggest that human resources work on a workplace respect strategy or send out information on effective communication techniques. Some do not want to take on this responsibility and do not feel it is their place to do so but it can be an effective way to produce the desired change you want and need.
Start the process. Quitting is not a good idea but starting change if you do not see a light at the end of the tunnel could be an effective strategy. This could be a lateral move to a different department, taking courses to upgrade your skills to apply for new positions, or dusting off your resume and looking around for a new company with the type of culture you are looking for.
Know what the keys to your job and short-term objectives are. If you feel overwhelmed and your workload is just too much, go back to having honest conversations. You need to have a conversation with whom you reportto and make sure you are aware of important items on the to do list. What are the aspects of your job that are critical to the company when things are piling on? You may ask, “I have too many tasks to complete in the time I have, what are the critical pieces in the next three months?”
Time wasters. Are you doing things in your day that are unproductive? Do you need to respond to every message, do you need to be in on every group email, do you turn off all notifications when doing important work, do you know how to respectfully get out of a conversation that is unproductive? These should be analyzed on an on-going basis. Telling me the number of emails you get in a day does not impress me. Also remember that “no” is a sentence. Be critical of your time. Do you need to be on every project you are asked to?
These are a few strategies I have employed in my own life and ones I advocate as working solutions. Your resilience is driven by your own skill set. You can continue to improve and learn, but it is also driven by your environment. Some is in your control and some is out of your control. Attempting to address what can be shifted with a little bit of work might make your workday, or night, better. And not drain your r-battery to a fully depleted state.