Creating An Emotionally Safe Workplace: What Managers Can Learn From Effective Parenting

An effective leader must possess various qualities and attributes in order to successfully motivate employees and create a safe, productive work environment.

Many managers often overlook the importance of creating a workplace

that is conducive to their employee’s emotional needs.

If you want to ensure that your employees are productive and satisfied with their position, it is vital that you work diligently to foster open communication and conflict resolution.

You should never underestimate the importance of developing an effective company culture and work environment. Companies that don’t support their employees and who allow morals and ethics to fall by the wayside will often see a decline in employee productivity rates. This can lead to lower profit margins as well as a poor public reputation.

Executive Coach standing next to inspiration and motivational quote #quote #executivecoaching #personaldevelopment #culture #workplace #hr #people

Below are several helpful tips you may want to take into consideration in order to build an emotionally safe workplace as well as what anyone in a leadership role can learn from parents about behavioral management:


Conflict is a part of every workplace, and while it is important to take steps to prevent it from occurring, it can often be inevitable. This is why it is important to develop effective conflict resolution skills as a manager. It will allow you to deescalate situations before they progress into something more serious and will help to create a safe and positive work environment in which your employees are able to thrive and reach their full potential.

This is a skill that many parents must-have, especially if they have more than one child. Many parents find that it is beneficial to establish healthy boundaries and to teach beneficial coping mechanisms, both of which can also be helpful in any work environment.

  • You might want to consider properly training employees so that they are able to interact with one another in a positive and productive manner.
  • You may also want to set clearly defined rules so that employees fully understand what type of behavior is expected from them while they are on the job.
  • Additionally, when conflict does arise, it can be helpful to teach your employees how to effectively deal with their emotions. You might want to suggest that they take a break to calm down or that they open up about their feelings in order to work through an issue.


Another helpful skill that managers can adopt from parents is the ability to successfully lead by example. Many parents realize that their children develop similar traits and behaviors that they themselves exhibit. This can often be a good thing, but it can also mean that the people around you may pick up on your negative habits as well. Therefore, it can be beneficial to be a good role model at work. This will show your employees how they should act in order to be taken seriously in the workplace.

  • Your employees will often look to you for guidance, and taking responsibility for your actions, respecting others, and maintaining a high standard of morals and ethics will help to promote these qualities in your employees.
  • The way that you present yourself will reflect on your company and will set a precedent for the entirety of the workplace. If your employees see that the company values loyalty, inclusiveness, and integrity, they will know that, when they come to work, they need to adhere to these standards.


Taking disciplinary action against employees is never easy. However, this is another vital skill that managers can take away from parenting. It is important that you set rules and expectations for your employees. These should be clearly defined and made known to all employees so that they know the potential consequences of negative behaviors. Letting things slide that damage workplace morale and that may make other employees feel unsafe at work, should be avoided. For example, if an employee begins harassing others within the workplace, this should be addressed.

  • If you ignore it, this will give other employees the impression that the company does not take these issues seriously and that they are free to do the same.
  • Therefore, you need your employees to understand there are consequences, which will help to prevent creating a workplace that is out of control and in which negative behaviors thrive.

IN CLOSING: There are many similarities between effective parenting and management skills if you pay close attention. Both roles require strong leadership, disciplinary action, conflict resolution, and setting a good example. If you are able to handle workplace conflict in a professional and productive manner, this will help to create a safe environment that makes your employees feel good about coming to work each day. When you are able to lead by example and become a manager that your employees respect, this will show them how to properly present themselves in a professional setting.

The Floor Is Yours: How else can managers create healthier work environments?

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Joshua Miller is a Master Certified Executive Coach, creative leader and bestselling author. His career spans both the advertising world and the world of leadership. In advertising, he was the creative lead, responsible for the campaign strategy for Fortune 100 brands. Today, he is an innovator, supporting the executive development and change management for many of the same companies.

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5 Reasons You Should Fire Yourself From Your Client

You have probably been there before when a client seems to think they are the only client in the world.

Where they expect you to give them all your attention, to be constantly on call, and will complain when you deliver anything they believe is less than 100 percent. Over time, you may find yourself dreading to pick up the phone when they call. You may feel overworked, underpaid, and frustrated.

All of this is enough to rip your hair out. And there are very few clients that are worth losing hair over.

But the great news is, you do not have to put up with them.

“You are in charge of whom you choose to take on as clients and when you say no more.”

There are many reasons why you should consider firing yourself from your client, here are five common ones to watch out for:


  • This should be a huge red flag for you if you’re working with a client and they start to ask you to do something unethical or outright illegal. Not only do you not want to get tied up with this kind of work, but you also should see this as a red flag about the person. Sacrificing your integrity to make money is not something that will be sustainable long-term. Instead, get rid of this bad apple as fast as you can and make room for a client who values good business practices.


  • You talked it over. You decided on a rate. They made it seem like everything was peachy and they may have even seemed reliable and trustworthy. But then it happens, a late payment. You think it’s okay, it happens. You accept the excuse and promises it won’t happen again. But it does. Again and again and again. Maybe the excuses continue or maybe they just give up. They aren’t giving 100 percent, but they’re still expecting you to. Somehow they believe they’re money is more valuable than other peoples and worth waiting for.
  • One thing is for sure, they have no business being your client anymore. Prioritize your self-respect and basic needs before holding onto a relationship that degrades your sense of value. Find some potential leads to replace them if needed and let them know that if they’re unable to make payments on time then you can’t work with them any longer.


  • It’s hard to get something done when a beginner keeps interjecting their half-formed opinions. You may then have to take the time to show them over and over why it won’t work that way. This can quickly become exhausting. A project timeline will start to drag on as huge chunks of time are eaten up by fighting with the client and trying to assure them that you know what you’re talking about.
  • Save yourself now from the fatigue and just get rid of any client that is making your life harder. You want to work with people who uplift you or at least don’t make you worn out and exhausted in an hour’s conversation. Set a boundary by asking them to step back and trust you with the project. If they’re unable to respect the request, replace them with a client who will.


  • Some interactions may leave you speechless. You think to yourself, “Are they serious?” You may wonder what just happened, and find yourself feeling from the whiplash of sudden changes in tone, attitude, and aggressiveness. Seemingly sweet clients lash out or make disparaging remarks that leave you feeling stunned and wondering whether you are good enough for the job.
  • If they’re insulting you and your work regularly, it’s a huge sign it’s time to make a plan of escape before your self-esteem is affected. If they’re a big client, downscale the time spent on their projects and find work to replace theirs.


  • An important thing to keep in mind when deciding on a client is whether they are helping you get closer to those goals. This may be harder because they could be good clients or decent individuals. But at some point, you’re going to want to be selective enough that you’re only taking on the clients that can also help you get further in your life plan. Look for clients who will give you the projects, experience, and networking needed to move towards your dream and fill your schedule with reaching out to them.
Executive Coach sitting with Motivational and inspiration quote #quote #coaching #selfworth #clients #business #success #tips #inspiration #value

IN CLOSING: It’s critical to be willing to leave any bad relationship, including working relationships. Doing so can improve the quality of your life and help you move towards more fulfilling and satisfying work and in the end, you are worth it.

The Floor Is Yours: What other red flags should you watch out for?

Workplace Shaming: Some Employees Need A Time Out

Recently, my oldest son came to me about a situation at school. He was being bullied by someone three grades older than him. As a parent, this is one of those conversations you probably dread having. My wife and I successfully handled it by talking to someone at his school. But something came out of the conversation with my son that I wasn’t expecting.

You see, my son looked me straight in the eyes and asked me if there were bullies at work. I looked at him straight in the eyes and told him the truth.

The answer was yes.

He’s almost seven, so I didn’t see any reason not be honest. Workplace bullying and workplace shaming both are certainly a part of life.

“What seemed like a teaching moment with my son suddenly turned into a coaching moment for myself.”

Nowadays, the word “shaming” is a popular topic in a lot of conversations. But there seems to be a disconnect with the concept of workplace shaming.

Many companies have implemented a zero tolerance policy for workplace bullying. However, many people don’t know the difference between bullying and shaming. And since there is a ton of information out there on this topic, that’s where we’ll begin.

Bullying vs. Shaming

Shaming someone typically occurs not for what a person has done, but for who that person is. The shaming could be because of a physical attribute, race or skin color, for instance. It’s simply a demonstration of the other person’s prejudices.

Bullying, on the other hand, is meant to humiliate and often physically harm or hurt someone perceived as weaker. Bullies seek power at the expense of others while attempting to dominate them. Adult bullies in the workplace, for example, are known to cause toxic atmospheres. These atmospheres diminish performance, destroy interpersonal relationships and erode company culture.

The psychological scars of both are real, raw and relevant to the victim. The victims of shaming and bullying are sometimes prone to turning their pain and emotions towards those who hurt them and anyone they felt condoned it. This creates another, much more serious situation.

This type of behavior has lead to some of the most horrific events that played out in the news. How many times did we learn that an assailant was a victim of bullying or constant abuse?

The bottom line: Neither shaming nor bullying can exist without a victim. And there is no place for this behavior in or out of the workplace.

The Impact Is Real

You might think this type of behavior isn’t a real threat or something to be concerned about. If you do, I would ask you to suspend that disbelief for one more paragraph.

When someone is bullied or shamed, it causes the victim to feel inadequate. This leads to disempowering thoughts such as, “Everyone must think I’m stupid or weak.”

That inner dialogue has been proven to trigger past memories of similar experiences, which leads to a deeper and more painful experience. Then, the emotional and mental impact leads directly to a physical one. And both of these are a superhighway to poor performance and lackluster employee engagement.

According to bullying expert Sherri Gordon, (the author of over 20 books on the subject), the impact in the workplace is quite extensive. She states that, “If you’re a target of bullies in the workplace, you probably start each week with a pit of anxiety in your stomach. Then, you count down the days until the weekend or next vacation.”

Inappropriate behavior by adult bullies may include:

  • Berating people
  • Stealing credit
  • Excluding others
  • Making snide remarks
  • Threatening others
  • Unfair criticism

Bullying has been known to cause a myriad of physical and psychological health problems.

These might include: stress, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, and higher blood pressure to name a few.

The impact on a bullied employee’s performance is also very real.

She cites some of the top issues as being:

  • Having trouble making decisions
  • An incapacity to work or concentrate
  • A loss of self-esteem
  • Lower productivity

Bullied workers not only lose motivation, they lose time because they are preoccupied with:

  • Trying to defend themselves
  • Avoiding the bully
  • Networking for support
  • Ruminating about the situation
  • Planning how to deal with the situation

But wait, there’s more…

In the full article (here) the author states that in addition to disrupting the work environment and impacting worker morale, it can also:

  • Reduce productivity
  • Create a hostile work environment
  • Promote absenteeism
  • Impact workers compensation claims
  • Result in costly, and possibly embarrassing legal issues

Other costly effects on the employer include:

  • Increased use of sick leave, health care claims and staff turnover
  • Erosion of employee loyalty and commitment
  • Additional costs to recruit and train new employees
  • Poor public image and negative publicity
  • Increased risk of legal action

What You Can Do About It

When discussing “what” to do about this type of behavior, we must also consider “how” it should be addressed and by “whom.” This is because there are two distinct parties involved. The first are the individuals – in this particular case, the victims. The second are the companies/employers where this type of behavior is taking place. Let’s start with what companies can begin to do or simply reinforce current policies.

In this fantastic HuffPost articleMargaret Jacoby pointed out some steps EMPLOYERS can and should start implementing:

  • Know what bullying looks like.

In a professional environment, this includes repeated mistreatment including verbal humiliation, persistent and unwarranted criticism, isolation and exclusion from social activities. Obvious signs are physical and overtly verbal abuse, but the subtler signs include sabotage of a person’s efforts to succeed.

  • Look out for targets of bullying behavior.

Certain types of co-workers tend to be targeted for workplace bullies – those who are very skilled at their jobs, favorites of management, those well-liked in the company and those not particularly aggressive. Take note of those who seem to have positive relationships and who doesn’t seem to interact with a group.

  • Focus on job performance.

Avoid negative comments unrelated to the job or the task at hand. Comments such as “any dummy could do this job” can be viewed as bullying. Train your managers and supervisors on appropriate ways to provide constructive criticism to workers without resorting to name-calling or using negative personal comments.

Your leadership sets the tone for how employees are expected to treat each other. Therefore, make clear in your handbook and by your own actions what type of behavior is permitted. Also outline what behaviors are expressly prohibited. Provide clear directions for reporting allegations and prohibit retaliation against those who do complain.

  • Investigate complaints promptly. 

Don’t ignore direct complaints or rumors of bullying in your workplace. Take immediate action. Because the longer you permit bullying, the greater the damage to the victim and potential liability to your company.

  • Provide training to both supervisors and employees.

Your policies will mean very little if supervisors don’t understand them and how to enforce them. Therefore, supervisors need to know how to identify bullying, fairly investigate claims, maintain privacy and appropriately discipline the offenders. It’s also important that all employees are aware of their rights and responsibilities to report such behavior.

If they aren’t, they will continue to believe that the employer doesn’t take these situations seriously.

  • Encourage a zero-tolerance environment. 

In the survey mentioned previously, bullied workers were asked how the employer handled the situation. The majority of bullies were found to be bosses or supervisors. And 72% of those surveyed felt their employer rationalized, or even encouraged, a culture of bullying. Some even denied it existed.

In those cases, it’s impossible for employees to feel safe or have any confidence. Because of this, they’ll have trouble being productive and happy in their jobs.

  • Call bullying what it is. 

Using terms such as incivility, disrespect, personality conflicts, difficult people, management style, trivializes bullying. It also underestimates the damage it does to the person who was bullied. In other words, not calling bullying “bullying,” in order to avoid offending someone just adds to the injury. After all, these victims’ jobs, careers, and health are threatened as the result.

If this subject has piqued your interest, I recommend grabbing these reads from Amazon. They can help you gain deeper insight into workplace shaming and positive company culture.

As an EMPLOYEE and potential victim of workplace bullying or shaming, there are certain empowering and necessary actions one should take. And according to Ms. Gordon’s insightful article titled, “How to Confront Workplace Bullying,” these are some to consider:

1. Take care of yourself and learn to recognize bullying

When you realize that you are being bullied, you are less likely to blame yourself or take responsibility. Remember — bullying is a choice the bully makes, not something defective in you.

2. Realize that you can change your response

Although it is impossible to change someone who doesn’t want to change, you can change how you respond. Take some time to think about how you want to handle the situation.

Do you want to search for a new job? Or maybe to report the incident? How about requesting a transfer?

Only you can decide how you want to address the situation.

3. Learn how to set boundaries

Be direct with the bully about how you plan to address his behavior. Furthermore, learn to be firm, confident and assertive. For example, tell the bully if he continues to threaten your job, you’ll report his behavior to human resources.

4. Keep a journal

Be sure to document any improper behavior. Because this information will help managers or outside organizations take action.

Be specific about what you write down. Include the date, the time, the location, the incident or words the offender said. Also, include any witnesses to the event. It might even be helpful to include how it made you feel or how it affected you. Likewise, you should record details about complaints that you filed and the responses you have received.

5. Create a paper trail

If it seems like someone is sabotaging your work, be sure you create a paper trail. This should clearly outline what you’re working on and your progress. Because if a bully is trying to force you out or squash your chances for promotion, the best way to fight back is to make sure others know about your projects. First of all, use e-mails, activity reports and other tools to share your progress with your co-workers and supervisors. Also, be humble in emphasizing your accomplishments. But be sure people are aware of the work you’re doing.

6. Report incidents

Being silent about bullying gives the bully more power and control over you. So when you feel ready, it’s important to report the bullying to a manager, supervisor, or another person in authority.

Remain calm and keep your emotions in check when sharing details about the bullying. After all, overly distraught complaints are distracting and may make the message confusing. So be consistent with details. It may be helpful to write out what you want to say ahead of time.

7. Keep your report relevant

In other words, share only specific details about the bully’s behavior. Don’t make assumptions or exaggerate details. Furthermore, don’t criticize the bully as a person or call him names in the meeting. After all, it’s the inappropriate behavior that needs to be addressed. Keep the focus there.

8. Seek outside assistance and find help for your situation

Report the behavior to the bully’s manager or supervisor. Bullying is a big issue that cannot be handled alone. If the bully is the owner or the manager, consider filing a complaint.

9. Surround yourself with empowering people

Find people who understand what you’re experiencing and who will provide support. Above all, talk about it. Don’t keep it inside.

10. Seek professional help or counseling

Finally, being targeted by a bully can certainly have a serious impact. It can affect your mood, your self-esteem, and even your physical health. Therefore, it’s important to find some outside help. This is especially true if you start to feel depressed.

The floor is yours: What can you do to prevent workplace bullying and shaming?

Have an extra 2 minutes to discover more about yourself? Take the quiz to find out if you’re happy or comfortable.

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With Leadership,

Joshua Miller

Joshua Miller is a creative leader and impactful executive coach.

His career spans both the advertising world and the world of leadership. In advertising, he was the creative lead, responsible for the campaign strategy for Fortune 100 brands. Today, he is an innovator. He’s supporting the executive development and change management for many of the same companies.

Joshua studied at Syracuse University, NYU and Stanford. He combines that background with his deep knowledge of organizational behavior, performance and change management. He focuses on the analysis, design, development, delivery, and evaluation of scalable and global talent development solutions programs.

Joshua is a Master Certified Coach. He trained with the International Coaching Federation and CTI (The Coaches Training Institute).



Let’s face it, we all know or have worked with – those who at some point in time were ineffective people. You might say less than accountable or productive.

It may have been at work or possibly in your personal life. Professionally we come across all kinds of team members and as managers or people leaders, you want employees who are seeking to contribute to both to the immediate successes as well as the broader organizational initiatives. Some are excellent and require less attention and support while others may need some work. That is why it’s important to know what to look for.
Below are 10 common characteristics to watch out for when seeking someone who you can count on.

No Urgency

Ineffective people don’t take work or their job responsibilities seriously, in fact, many things show up as a joke or unimportant. This manifests in being tardy to both meetings as well as work. They are known to cancel things at the last minute or simply not communicate their potential absence at all.  Their apparent lack of time management and respect of leadership is an obvious developmental gap that should be addressed as soon as possible.

Analysis Paralysis

Ineffective people spend too much time thinking and not enough time doing. They may worry about what others think of them or look for evidence to support their hypothesis. This can show up during a brainstorming session, project or program management or after receiving feedback. Instead of taking time to plan and prepare,  ineffective people tend to work harder versus smarter.

Everything Is Code Red

Ineffective people don’t properly prioritize their to-do lists; if they even have one. They are usually focusing on things that aren’t mission critical or time-sensitive or allow small tasks to take up the majority of their time. As a result, they miss deadlines and can potentially spin their wheels in the process (see #2 above).

Lack of Empathy

Ineffective people “sometimes” lack empathy. This isn’t always the case but it’s been shown that if someone can’t put themselves in another person’s shoes and see things from a different perspective, they may not be able to understand others effectively. Although this is not a key indicator of direct effectiveness, it is an important trait (an indicator) of successful leadership.

Fearing Change

Ineffective people are challenged with how to embrace change. They typically can be found drumming up the water cooler talk about things they either have no evidence to support or simply find comfort in gossiping and drama.

The Glass Is Always Half Full

Ineffective people tend to look for the downside in things while overlooking the good and potential possibilities that are present. They dwell in the past and focus on what’s wrong or didn’t work with a project or assignment while slowing down both themselves and their team.

Thanks, But I Got This

Ineffective people refuse to accept advice from those who care about them and have their best interest at heart, as their managers. They often think that what works for others won’t work for them because their situation is as unique as they are. Some may see this as the entitlement while others view at immaturity.

Wasting Time Unknowingly

Ineffective people often have no concept of time (see #3 above). Their relationship to time is weak and they can be found spending a lot of time on meaningless tasks, starting and stopping projects prematurely, or engaging in gossip (see #6 above). Ineffective people are more likely to spend endless hours surfing the web, take longer lunch breaks, and get less accomplished.

Throw In The Towel

Ineffective people often give up easily when the going gets tough. They take the approach of saying, “See, I told you that wouldn’t work,” when something goes wrong. Instead of focusing on problem-solving strategies to overcome obstacles, they often view barriers as impossible hurdles to overcome and look to enroll others in their story.

The Bail Out

Ineffective people either don’t ask for help or don’t know how to ask. They do, however, expect that others should just drop everything they’re doing and help them at all costs when they do finally ask. This can show up as either arrogant or entitled or sometimes both. They can be short-tempered and childlike if they don’t get their way and this emotional burst can also waste valuable time (see #3,#4 & #8).

Learn more about how to deal with ineffective people:


Final Thought:

Being ineffective is not a medical condition nor has it been scientifically proven (by my records) to be genetic or irreversible. If you are a people leader and think you may have someone who is ineffective, fear not – there are actions you can take such as addressing these behaviors with the individual. Many times people are simply unaware of how they show up in (both their personal and professional) life. That is why we have measures such as providing “effective” feedback, learning and leadership development and last but not least performance management. If you are unsure how to address these behaviors within your organization, don’t be afraid to seek out help from within your HR Team, People Operations Department or a Mentor or Colleague.

Have an extra 2 minutes to discover more about yourself? Take the quiz to find out if you’re happy or comfortable.

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With Leadership,

Joshua Miller

Joshua Miller is a creative leader and impactful executive coach.

His career spans both the advertising world and the world of leadership. In advertising, he was the creative lead, responsible for the campaign strategy for Fortune 100 brands. Today, he is an innovator. He’s supporting the executive development and change management for many of the same companies.

Joshua studied at Syracuse University, NYU and Stanford. He combines that background with his deep knowledge of organizational behavior, performance and change management. He focuses on the analysis, design, development, delivery, and evaluation of scalable and global talent development solutions programs.

Joshua is a Master Certified Coach. He trained with the International Coaching Federation and CTI (The Coaches Training Institute).



Your Manager Lacks Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence has become a popular topic in the field of psychological research. It’s especially popular in leadership development.

Research about the way today’s workforce interacts is a growing field. And EQ is also a critical component for one’s wellbeing.

But developing your EI is important if you want to have a successful career.

Many experts believe emotional intelligence quotient (EQ) may be more important than IQ . It’s certainly a better predictor of success, quality of relationships, and happiness.

In fact, according to a report from the Robert H. Smith School of Business from the University of Maryland:

“71% of hiring managers said having EQ is more important the IQ and 51% of them said that they would NOT hire someone with a high IQ but a low EQ”

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Let’s break it down so it’s easy to understand.

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to identify your own emotions and the emotions of those around you.

It is generally said to include these 5 dimensions:

  1. Self-Awareness: Recognize and understand our emotions and reactions.
  2. Self-Management: Manage, control, and adapt our emotions, mood, reactions, and responses.
  3. Motivation: Harness our emotions to motivate ourselves to take action, commit, follow-through, and work toward our goals.
  4. Empathy: Discern the feelings of others, understand their emotions and utilize that understanding to relate to others more effectively.
  5. Social Skills: Build relationships, relate to others, lead, negotiate conflict, and work as part of a team.

Critical areas in which Emotional Intelligence can support you:

  • Physical Health – The ability to take care of our bodies and to manage our stress. This has an incredible impact on our overall wellness. It’s heavily tied to our emotional intelligence.
  • Conflict Resolution – When we can discern people’s emotions and empathize with them, it’s much easier to resolve conflicts. It will probably even help you avoid them before they start. We are also better at negotiation due to our ability to understand the needs and desires of others. It’s easier to give people what they want if we can perceive what it is.
  • Mental Well-Being – EI affects our attitude and outlook on life. It can also alleviate anxiety and help you avoid depression and mood swings. A high level of EI directly correlates to a positive outlook on life.
  • Relationships – By better understanding and managing our emotions, we are better able to communicate our feelings in a constructive way. We are also better able to relate to those with whom we are in relationships. Understanding the needs, feelings, and responses of those we care about leads to more fulfilling relationships.
  • Success – Higher EI helps us to be stronger internal motivators. As a result, we can reduce procrastination, increase self-confidence, and improve our ability to focus on a goal. It also allows us to create better support systems and persevere with a more positive outlook.
  • Leadership – The ability to understand what motivates others to relate in a positive manner. Also, to build stronger bonds in the workplace inevitably makes those with higher emotional intelligence better leaders. An effective leader can recognize the needs of his people. Then, know how to meet them in a way that encourages high performance.

For resources on growing workplace EQ:

Lastly, here are 9 signs your manager may lack emotional intelligence:

  1. Unable to control their emotions.

    Emotionally intelligent people are able to regulate. Therefore having control of their emotions. If your manager is prone to lashing out in anger they likely lack EQ.

  2. Clueless about your feelings.
    The ability to read others’ nonverbal emotional cues, such as facial expressions, is a critical part of EQ. If your manager can’t read your obvious displeasure, they probably have problems making emotional connections.
  3. Can’t maintain friendships.
    High-EQ individuals have strong networks of friends and acquaintances. If your manager is unable to maintain good relationships with colleagues, this is an indicator of low EQ.
  4. Always has a “poker face.”
    While reading others’ emotions is important for EQ, so is the ability to express your own. If you can never tell what your manager is really feeling, it’s likely they’re missing this element of EI.
  5. Is emotionally inappropriate.
    Making bad or inappropriate jokes. Getting angry over nothing. Not realizing that he/she is angering someone. These are signs that your manager doesn’t understand the social workings of emotions and emotional expression. And this understanding is another important aspect of EQ.
  6. Can’t cope with sadness.
    An inability to manage others’ emotions indicates a lack of emotional intelligence. Low-EQ individuals have particular difficulty in reacting to others’ negative emotions.
  7. Is emotionally “tone deaf.”
    We communicate a great deal of emotion through tone of voice. If your manager can’t sense your irritation, it may be an indicator that he or she is not skilled at detecting emotions.
  8. Can’t really be sympathetic.
    Empathy and sympathy involve recognizing others’ emotional states and reflecting back appropriate emotional concern. This is a complex skill that suggests high levels of emotional intelligence.
  9. Has no volume control.

    Of course, we’re talking about emotional volume here. Too-loud emotional reactions suggest difficulty in controlling emotions.

Final Thoughts:

Emotional intelligence is still not completely understood. In fact, it’s still being researched even as I write this. However, what we do know is that emotions play a critical role in the quality of our lives. It’s probably even more critical than our actual measure of brain intelligence.

Tools and technology can help us learn information. But nothing can replace our ability to learn, manage, and master our emotions and the emotions of those around us.

If you are now wondering how your EI level stacks up, there are a few places online to take a free emotional intelligence assessment.

Have an extra 2 minutes to discover more about yourself? Take the quiz to find out if you’re happy or comfortable.

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With Leadership,

Joshua Miller

Joshua Miller is a creative leader and impactful executive coach.

His career spans both the advertising world and the world of leadership. In advertising, he was the creative lead, responsible for the campaign strategy for Fortune 100 brands. Today, he is an innovator. He’s supporting the executive development and change management for many of the same companies.

Joshua studied at Syracuse University, NYU and Stanford. He combines that background with his deep knowledge of organizational behavior, performance and change management. He focuses on the analysis, design, development, delivery, and evaluation of scalable and global talent development solutions programs.

Joshua is a Master Certified Coach. He trained with the International Coaching Federation and CTI (The Coaches Training Institute).



You might work in an open-space office environment. Or you may sit at a desk enclosed by timeless (and design-less) grey and beige cubicle walls. Either way, one similarity probably exists … You work alongside other people.

Those people can kill your productivity. Nowadays companies are looking for more collaboration and interaction. And it’s up to you to focus and do your job while avoiding distractions.

Enter the disruptive and annoying coworker.

Yes, you know who I’m speaking of. We’ve all endured them at one point in time along our career paths. The movie industry has well documented certain stereotypes. And I’m sure there are many more that haven’t made it to the big screen. But one thing is certain — there are a few characters that seem to pop up in every office.

If you do work alongside other human beings, there’s a very small chance you all get along 100% of the time. Each and every one of them will probably annoy you at some point. And there may even be a few who you absolutely can’t stand.

Here are some of the most common types of negative workplace personalities. These are the people who derail productivity and some ideas on how to effectively deal with them.

1. The Forgetful Borrower

This person borrows staplers (red ones to), highlighters, tape and other things from others’ desks and forgets to return them. Worse, he or she may not even ask to borrow them. Solution: If you know who the culprit is and you haven’t yet received your item back then you can address the issue head-on. The next time this happens, say something like, “Hey (insert name), I noticed you borrowed my (insert item) and was wondering if you still have it as I need it back.” If they have it, then hopefully you will get it back and it’s a win-win. If they play coy and pretend to not know what you are talking about, short of you having evidence of an actual act of intent – let it go, learn from the situation and lock up the items in question moving forward.

2. The Slacker

There always seems to be one team member who is content to let everyone else do the work but is always there to take the credit. This is quite annoying and unfair.

Solution: Carl Jung said it best, “what you resist – persists.” This couldn’t be more true. If you fail to call this person out then you (and possibly your teammates) may fall prey to this persons undermining of your hard work. Speak up and responsibly confront this individual by asking them, “what exactly did you contribute to this assignment/project?”. It’s important to allow them to speak their mind as it will provide you valuable information into how they think and the reality in which they reside. If this doesn’t work, you always have the option of going directly to your boss or manager and explain but more importantly document what work was actually done and by whom. 

3. The Passive-Aggressor

Though not openly complaining that someone else isn’t working as much, The Passive-Aggressor still can’t resist mentioning how late he or she stayed last night or commenting on his or her “insane” amount of work.

Solution: This one is actually quite easy. Typically ignoring these types of comments work best as acknowledging them will only show validation and potential praise for that persons perceived efforts. Silence is key. The Passive-Aggressor may also be prone to more direct behavior that could be seen as abusive. This action, of course, should be escalated to your HR or People Team.

4. The Drama Queen/King

“The term ‘drama queen,’ or less frequently, ‘drama king’ is usually applied to someone with a demanding or overbearing personality who tends to overreact to seemingly minor incidents.  Psychologists might describe a drama queen or king as a neurotic personality with histrionic tendencies, meaning they tend to become needlessly dramatic whenever the order is disrupted.

Solution: The easiest way to handle these type of people is simply refuse to take the bait. Dramatic people love drama but more importantly being center of attention so the more you respond to their drama (“Oh my gosh, that really happened to you?”), the more you feed their desire to be heard and validated. Instead, simply ignore the rants, and go on about your business. Your message—“I’m not interested”—will eventually be received.

5. The Know-It-All

There are at least two variations of this workplace character, according to Lynne Eisaguirre’s book Stop Pissing Me Off!: The Detail-Oriented Know-it-All, who relishes pointing out minutiae while missing the whole point; and The Fixer Know-it-All, who “insists on solving your problems for you, even if you don’t want them solved, or, in fact, don’t think you have a problem at all.”

Solution: Unsolicited opinions can be as annoying as a car alarm going off all night keeping you awake. The key is to ignore both the situation and comments while not being completely dismissive. Try saying, “Thanks, I’ll think about that.” And if you find yourself getting frustrated, comfort yourself with the knowledge that this person is most likely perceived as potentially obnoxious, insecure or maybe trying “too hard” to fit in.

6. The Suck-up

The Suck-up can’t wait to find a new way to get the boss to recognize him. This coworker is always there to remind the boss just how wonderful he or she is, even if it’s at the expense of others.

Solution: Annoying? Most definitely. Harmful? Not really, unless of course, this person is stepping on or over you to forward their agenda. Typically these types of people are easy to spot when discovered in the act but again pay close attention. The key is understanding that this individual is clearly seeking both visibility and acknowledgment and it has nothing to do with you. This type of behavior is usually quite transparent to the other person as well that they are sucking energy from and usually runs it course whether long term or short. 

7. The Gossiper

One could argue that the office gossip is the mayor of the water cooler. They always “appear” to know what’s happening, to whom and by when. Whether it’s potential layoff, hiring, firing or anything to do with salaries. They thrive on sharing this information to anyone who will listen. Substantiated or not, these rumors get repeated over and over, usually by the same people, who just love stirring up the worst-case scenario of what’s going on.

Solution: When dealing with information that is coming from a secondary or questionable source, it’s always best to substantiate the claims as much as possible. Said another way, “just the facts please.” Don’t be afraid to question them or their source. They will quickly get that you aren’t interested in watching “TMZ the Office Edition.” As  result they will stay clear of you because probing for facts takes all the fun (and drama) for them. Another solution I found that could equally be effective is to outright say something like, “Sorry – I can’t help you with that” or be bolder in expressing your disdain for gossip. Either way you will relieve yourself of being a gossip repository.

8. The Victim

No matter how good things are, there is bound to be something to complain about and more importantly someone to blame for their ill-perceived hardships. This disgruntled employee — justified or not — is a drag to work with. Worse, chronic complaining is a contagious habit, which can result in a toxic and negative working atmosphere.

Solution: People with a victim mentality don’t believe they have any ownership or control of the situation. In their world, other people are doing things to them. Sometimes it’s actually part of a greater or larger conspiracy theory pitted against only them. This makes addressing this behavior a little more complex. Unless you have a healthy dose of emotional intelligence (as well as patience), it may prove best to acknowledge what’s being said without an agreement. Then casually look to move on or away. The key is to avoid further anchoring into the victim’s conversation and the evidence they have collected as to why their life is the way it is.

For insight on overcoming workplace distractions:

Final Thought:

This is by no means a scientific or complete list. As a result of speaking with a few dozen people on this topic, I’m aware there are a few more productivity-killing coworkers to watch out for:

  • The “loud talker”
  • The “life is always a metaphor”
  • The “everything is a movie analogy”
  • The “open-mouth chewer”
  • The “steal your lunch from the fridge”
  • The “not showered lately coworker”
  • The “close talker”
  • The “won’t let you finish a sentence”

Whenever you isolate many different types of people into one workspace, anticipate some personality clashes. Certain types of behaviors, such as those listed here, are annoying but don’t necessarily have to be career derailers. It is important to approach irritating colleagues carefully. But it’s also important to remind yourself to avoid certain situations that could jeopardize your career and overall happiness. With most types of annoying co-workers, the key is to be professional and straightforward not hostile or mean. By attacking a co-worker verbally, you step way over the line. But you also directly jeopardize your job. Remember…

You can’t control other people; the only thing you can control is the way you choose to respond to them. 

The floor is yours. What are some annoying traits you have witnessed?

Have an extra 2 minutes to discover more about yourself? Take the quiz to find out if you’re happy or comfortable.

[interact id=”5b97c86710e74b0014bd0c88″ type=”quiz”]

With Leadership,

Joshua Miller

Joshua Miller is a creative leader and impactful executive coach.

His career spans both the advertising world and the world of leadership. In advertising, he was the creative lead, responsible for the campaign strategy for Fortune 100 brands. Today, he is an innovator. He’s supporting the executive development and change management for many of the same companies.

Joshua studied at Syracuse University, NYU and Stanford. He combines that background with his deep knowledge of organizational behavior, performance and change management. He focuses on the analysis, design, development, delivery, and evaluation of scalable and global talent development solutions programs.

Joshua is a Master Certified Coach. He trained with the International Coaching Federation and CTI (The Coaches Training Institute).


7 Passive Aggressive Phrases That Erode Workplace Culture (& How To Stop It)

The workplace has always been ground zero for being the catalyst of human emotion and connection. It brings people together with a common purpose and intention that everyone will work side by side to reach their goal(s). Sound too good to be true?

Probably because it is.

The place we all go to for forty plus hours a week, huddle around coffee machines and offices and share our deepest and darkest thoughts about our weekends, problems, significant others, bosses and colleagues while working hard (and hopefully smart) to finish a project or reach some timely deadline…so what could possibly go wrong?

Well, pretty much everything.

When it comes to culture within organizations, many companies take considerable measures to ensure cohesive environments where everyone can feel happy, empowered and excited to go to work but unfortunately it doesn’t take much to disrupt the environment. When it comes to human behavior the opportunities are plenty. Passive aggressive behavior can tear both a culture and a person’s spirit apart in a matter of seconds.

“Passive aggression is a deliberate and masked way of expressing covert feelings of  anger . It involves a variety of behaviors designed to get back at another person without the other recognizing the underlying anger.”

In researching this topic, I came across a powerful and insightful article by Signe Whitson L.S.W. where she laid out a variety of passive aggressive phrases that can erode workplace culture. Below are seven I found to be both relevant and prevalent while adding my own thoughts on how mitigate it.

Phrases To Watch Out For In The Workplace

  1. I’ll Get it to You Tomorrow. Postponing, and stalling are all classic passive aggressive tactics at work. The more an employee can verbally agree to a task, but behaviorally delay its completion, the more they can interrupt work flow and frustrate those who rely on them.
  2. I Never Got the Message. Passive aggressive workers are often burdened by temporary hearing loss, convenient loss of sight, and bad memories when it comes to fulfilling workplace responsibilities. Other common sayings that may signal passive aggressive task avoidance may include: “I must not have heard you say that” OR “I didn’t see the e-mail” OR “I forgot to put it on your desk”
  3. No One Ever Told Me. As a close relative of the excuse, “I wasn’t trained on how to do that,” “No one told me” is a common phrase of the passive aggressive worker, to justify undone work and incomplete tasks. By claiming ignorance, the covertly hostile worker shirks responsibility onto the shoulders of others.
  4. I Thought You Knew. Passive aggressive workers often commit crimes of omission in the workplace, choosing not to share a piece of information even when they know that doing so could prevent a problem. For example, by claiming, “I thought you knew,” a jealous worker fails to alert their colleague about a mandatory meeting.
  5. You Didn’t Get Back To Me, So I Just Checked With Your Boss. Do you have an employee who relishes any opportunity to make others look bad? They might not even be trying to gain recognition for themselves—they simply want to diminish others. By going over someone’s head and innocently claiming, “You didn’t call back, so I just checked with your boss,” the passive aggressive person thwarts a workplace hierarchy and makes their target appear unresponsive and incompetent.
  6. I Was Sick. When a worker is consistently and suddenly ill on the days that large projects are due or their contribution to a meeting is crucial, a red flag should go up in your mind that passive aggression may be the source of their sickness. While we all get sick from time to time, the passive aggressive employee “plans” sick days around sabotaging their workplace.
  7. That’s Not My Job. The passive aggressive employee may be Johnny-on-the-Spot when it comes to tasks they enjoy, but when assigned a job that they resent or feels is beneath them, they confidently fall back on the rationalization, “that’s not my job” and frustrates others with their letter-of-the-law adherence to the specifications of their job description.

What To Do When Confronted

When faced with an individual who demonstrates any of the above listed behaviors, it’s always best to remain calm and if necessary – walk away. If this happens to be a repeating pattern with the same individual, then consider going to your HR/People Operations department and report the situation as some people simply won’t be approachable. Here are four tips to remember when dealing with passive aggressive colleagues in the workplace:

  • Remain calm, and stay focused on the current moment – resist the temptation to get emotionally triggered, it’s a slippery slope into the past. If you fall the for the bait, you risk empowering their conversation about how they arrived to the current situation and all the evidence they’ve collected as to why they are right (and you are wrong).
  • When confronting someone with passive aggressive tendencies, it’s best to refrain from using the word “you” and instead opt for “I” as the first option will be met with a defensive posture and most likely deaf ears. Focusing on yourself leaves little room for the aggressor to fall back on their victim story.
  • Pick your battles in service of the war. Depending on who this person is that exhibits this poor behavior, use your best judgement before taking any action. When we are emotional, our ability to make sound judgments goes out the window. Find a trusting friend or peer and seek some perspective.
  • Lastly, don’t be afraid to share with this person (especially if this is an ongoing situation) that there are repercussions for acting this way and it can be reported. It can be heard as a threat but consider it more of a warning with a hint of promise. Don’t be combative, be assertive and stand your ground.

What To Watch Out For In People

Spotting passive aggressive behavior isn’t always as easy as it sounds. In fact, people who are typically passive aggressive in nature can be so subtle that the effect of their words or actions may not even be felt until minutes, hours or days later. Knowing what to look out for could save you both time and happiness. Here are some red flags:

  • They constantly look for the upper hand by acting in ways that are both subtle, frustrating and unprofessional. This can show up in terms of making you wait on them, purposely disengaging when you are speaking or finding ways to trip you up in public (or via email).
  • They rarely share what’s really going on with them. You won’t know when they are hurt, upset or having a tough day. Everything is fine, life is fine and all is great. Don’t be fooled. The constant submission of emotion can lend itself to acting out with the intent to bring others down to their level.
  • Inclusion is not a word in their vocabulary. Passive aggressive people relish in excluding others who they feel have wronged them. This can take shape in the form of an invite to go somewhere, credit for a project or just outright being dismissive.
  • Last by definitely not least, their warmth comes with it, a brisk chill. Compliments are accompanied with a question about the significance or validity of the very thing they are complimenting you on. This can leave you wondering why you felt great one moment and confused the next.

Final thoughts: No matter what, pay close attention to how you speak and treat others in the workplace. Notice what triggers your emotional surges and who you are speaking with at that time. Find ways to acknowledge what’s happening but always be responsible in how you handle yourself and the situation. Someone who has spent their entire life being the passive-aggressor knows how to take advantage of others and situations and their toxic behavior will erode the workplace culture if not addressed.

If you think you suffer from passive aggressive behavior. Here’s a free assessment I found online.

The floor is yours: How do you deal with passive aggressive people in the office?

boss not coaching

4 Warning Signs Coaching Is Not Right For Your Employee

Quick…get them a coach!

Sounds like something you would hear in a hospital E.R. (minus the coach part of course), except this is a phrase that is indeed used in emergencies except its’ not in a hospital but in the workplace.

Having an organization invest in their people is the greatest thing one could ask for but only when it’s the right resource matched to the right situation and employee. There are many ways to develop talent within a company.

One of the most popular and common solutions is to hire an executive coach to improve the performance and develop the talent of key employees.

Many times, finding a coach is exactly what’s warranted.

Other times it’s not.

Hiring a coach is quite easy these days but unfortunately many coaches will happily take on companies as clients without thoroughly vetting the situation. I can’t stress enough: it’s the responsibility of the company to ensure hiring a coach is the right approach to begin with and then of course ensuring you have the right coach and process in place should you move forward..

A Quick Refresh On Coaching

According to the AMA: Coaching is a dialogue that leads to Awareness and Action. When an employee has the skills and ability to complete the task at hand, but for some reason is struggling with the confidence, focus, motivation, drive, or bandwidth to be at their best, coaching can help.

Employees typically struggle because one of three things is in their way:

  • Skills and Abilities—They currently lack the skill or ability to complete the task at hand; this relates to Aptitude.
  • Themselves—They currently lack the motivation, focus, chutzpah, confidence, or commitment to complete the task at hand; this relates to Attitude
  • Outside Factors—They currently are being affected by things that are largely outside their control, such as not having the Available Resources, changing market conditions, ineffective vendors and partners (internal and external), or poor relationships with various stakeholders and colleagues.

When determining whether coaching is the right tool to use in a certain situation, first ask yourself this question:

  • Is this about Aptitude? Is there a lack of skills or ability getting in the way of the employee’s success? If the answer is “yes,” then your answer to whether or not this is a coaching situation is “no.”

If, in fact, the answer to the first question is “no” or “not really,” next ask yourself:

  • Is this about Attitude—his confidence, commitment, enthusiasm, focus, chutzpah, frustration? If the answer is “yes,” then you have a situation that is primed for coaching.

Here are 4 warning signs that hiring a coach should NOT be the first option:

  1. The employee in question hasn’t been properly assessed from within their company to understand if the situation is behavioral or technical.
  2. No one has spoken to the respective HRBP, the employee’s manager and/or sought out any previous history or behavioral patterns to determine any existing patterns.
  3. The employee has openly expressed their disinterest in working with a coach, is defensive, deflective and/or closed off to the idea of change.
  4. The employee has a manager who exhibits many of the same qualities of #3.

Here are 4 characteristics you should look for in someone who is coachable:

1. Committed to Change. Individuals who want to improve, and are willing to step outside of their comfort zones are great candidates for a successful coaching relationship.

2. Open to information about themselves. Individuals who are willing and able to listen and hear constructive criticism without being defensive are great candidates for a successful coaching relationship.

3. Open about themselves. Individuals who are willing to engage in topics that may be uncomfortable but recognize how they are impeding their professional development are great candidates for a successful coaching relationship.

4. Awareness about one’s self and others. Individuals who already possess a fair amount of awareness about themselves and recognize the impact it has on others are great candidates for a successful coaching relationship.

  • Note: These are by no means a final or complete checklist. In fact, I would I use these as a starting point to your research.

Final thoughts: Coaching and finding the right coach (for the right situation and the right candidate) is a process. For some, it can be an exhaustive one while for others the chemistry is there and the situation truly warrants having a coach. Whatever or where ever you are, make sure you take your time, do your due diligence and ask others for support in your decision making if necessary. For more info on Executive Coaching, check out my other articles.

The floor is yours: How important is coaching in your organization?

With leadership,

Joshua /

Please ‘Follow’ if you would like to hear more from me in the future.

not a pushover

Why Being A Pushover Is Killing Your Career

Being labeled as a push over is one title you don’t want.

Sure, there are times where you will “take one for the team” but how for many teams and for how long?

At some point, you must draw a line, otherwise you fall victim to the potential of being called a pushover.

I have always been intrigued by this topic so I’m going to break it down like this:

  • How this type of behavior impacts your performance
  • What are the warning signs?
  • What you can do about it

I have yet to meet someone who has openly admitted that they enjoy talking to people who are actively ignoring them. Have you? The fact is: We all want to be heard and acknowledged. All of us.

You & The Story You Keep Telling Yourself

Human connection is part of our DNA and so is our fragile egos. We all want to be liked, accepted and for some – adorned at the greatest lengths possible. Many people go about their lives unaware of how deep their need for approval runs. This need can easily derail your professional career and overall performance.

For some it’s about doing too little due to an overwhelmingly fear of failure while for others the need for approval is so high that you take on too much exercising less perspective and focus potentially leading to poor results and execution.

Before you go debating with yourself to what degree this may or may not be true, there is some neuroscience research that suggests why some people may fall in different bands of the spectrum when it comes to agreeing or disagreeing with another person. A new studyin Frontiers in Human Neuroscience led by Dr. Juan Dominguez of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia suggests:

  • People have a network in their brains that is attuned to disagreement with other people. When this network is activated, it makes us feel uncomfortable (we experience “cognitive dissonance,” to use the psychological jargon) and avoiding this state that motivates us to switch our views as much as possible. It appears the network is more sensitive in some people than in others, and that this might account for varying degrees of pushover-ness.

Still not sure? Read on, it gets better I promise.

The Warning Signs

One could take away that it’s not about “if” you are pushover but rather “when” and more importantly are you even aware of it. There are some very real warning signs to help you navigate this topic. Here are some of the obvious to spot, but be warned – you may spot them in others first before realizing you are doing it as well.

  • Constantly pleasing others in fear of disrupting the status quo.
  • You run from the first sign of confrontation.
  • Feeling put out or experiencing a repeat of amount of uneven exchanges.
  • You find that your second job is apologizing to others.
  • You find yourself in a loop of bad situations with similar circumstances.

Although I fear the list is (much) much longer, the one commonality amongst all the research I did was a supreme lack of boundaries – both personal, professional, emotional and physical.

Boundaries exists to keep the unwanted things out, while keeping the stuff you do want in. The same principle that would apply to your home, applies to your professional life. Think of it like a security system, most of them are not visible but the warning signs are letting other people know to be aware and to think twice. If you create boundaries for yourself but don’t speak up to let others know they are there, what do you expect will happen…exactly, they will be crossed because there was no sign to deter them.

According to Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S., Associate Editor at Psych Central – you should consider these six things when defining your boundaries. I invite you to read the full article:

  • Know your values.
  • Communicate clearly.
  • Bring up a boundary or violation right away.
  • Create structure.
  • Focus on concrete explanations.
  • Prepare for violations.

Getting clear on where your personal and emotional property line exists is key to being happier at work and not allowing others to push you over. If you allow one person to step on to your property without a warning, what message do you believe it sends to your neighbors?

What To Do About It

Here is a great list of actions you can start taking today which will hopefully have you stop staying yes to others while saying no to yourself.

  • Identify the stuff that doesn’t work for you. Sure, there are times where saying no is not an option but for the countless others that arise, start asking yourself if these are things you really want to take on.
  • Start speaking up no matter how quiet you begin. Don’t expect others to read your mind – communicate. If people don’t know how you feel, how do you expect them to change. Many times, people are simply unaware they have crossed onto your personal property.
  • Learn to say no. This one is often listed as a must to breaking the cycle of being a pushover, however the problem lies in not saying these two letters but rather “how’ to say them. It may begin for you as a ‘no, not now’ which could be a great improvement.
  • Accept the silence. When you begin to say no, especially if people aren’t used to it – be prepared to be with their reaction. It may take people by surprise but no matter what, no matter how big the urge – don’t break the silence with an unwavering yes or anything else that diminishes the impact of your no.
  • Know your worth. Somewhere down the road, you may have forgotten who you are, what you stand for and what makes you happy. Go find that person you lost and reconnect with them. You can stand for what you don’t know and it’s one journey worth taking some PTO for.
  • Take a moment to feel the impact. The continuous need to please others is costing you a lot but until you slow down and list out just how much your actions are impacting your life – you probably won’t change.
  • Learn to love yourself again. Practicing self-acceptance is a critical piece to this puzzle. Feeling good about yourself and what you believe in is important to building a healthy emotional core. By building your self-esteem, you will also be strengthening your ability to speak up for you – by you.
  • Start small. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was the loss of your self-confidence. This will take time, but it’s completely reversible. It depends solely on how badly you want change. When starting to say no, maybe practice with a stranger versus someone who already has a way of listening to you as someone who will agree.

Final thoughts: We all suffer from some level of self-doubt or lack of belief in our ability to show up in life. The problem is that until you believe in yourself, it doesn’t matter what someone else says because the most important person doesn’t believe it…you. The approval you are really seeking lies within yourself and this can only be found once you stop searching for the approval of others.

The floor is yours: How important is standing up for yourself in the workplace?

Please leave your comment below as your insights are greatly appreciated and a learning opportunity for everyone reading this article.

With leadership,

Joshua /

Please ‘Follow’ if you would like to hear more from me in the future.


Need To Apologize? Follow This Method

All too often we sit and wait, pensive at times while other times patient…and for what?

The elusive apology.

I say elusive because often it gets lost in the mail, cyberspace or the literal space between someone’s ears. The point is this:

Apologies are great and when they are truly warranted, it can feel like a rainbow magically appears above your head. However, when it doesn’t – it’s the opposite effect, causing doom, gloom and usually a healthy dose of anger to accompany what can only be described as the loss of a friend, partner or other venture.

The funny thing about life and apologies in particular is that they are as unique as the person delivering them and that’s perfectly fine as that’s how it should be. As I was thinking about this topic it occurred to me that there must be some underlying science, research, data or a blogger out there who has figured out the best practices and mechanics to delivering the best apology possible.

At first I simply relied on what I was told growing up, which was:

  • Say you are sorry (ie: show humility)
  • Admit it was your fault (ie: take accountability).
  • Ask what you can do to make it right (ie: show sincerity).

On the surface this sounds good but when you dig into it, it’s riddled with problems. For example:

  • People say they are sorry when they don’t mean it leaving the other person not receiving it.
  • Most people’s egos are hardwired to protect themselves so admitting fault is tricky especially in verbalizing it to another.
  • Making it right should be (IMHO) something you have thought about before apologizing. Why make the person you hurt do work?

I came across something that I had never seen but apparently is incredibly popular, so forgive me for sharing but it’s quite useful. It’s called the PANDA method:

P: Promise It Will Never Happen Again.

In giving an authentic apology, you are saying that given the same circumstances, you would make a different, better, and wiser decision. Verbalize this and let the other person know you are aware of what you did and the impact it’s caused them.

A: Admit You Were at Fault.

Retrace your steps and describe exactly why what you did was wrong. A little acknowledgment and empathy can go a very long way and by showing the other person you remember what unfolded, it adds a layer of sincerity to the situation.

N: No Excuses.

There are simply no excuses when it comes to this point. If you find yourself hesitant if not impeded to move forward then chances are you aren’t ready to apologize. An apology should only consist of you or the word “I” in the beginning. The rest of the statement should be about the other person and how you made them feel.

D. Describe How You Would Handle the Situation Next Time.

Owning your sh*t is one thing. Learning from it is another entirely. Showing (by telling) the other person how you would do it differently next time should there be one adds a layer of authenticity, maturity and responsibility to your apology while hopefully instilling some ease in the other individual.

A. Act On Your Promise.

Actions are truly louder than words and short of providing the noble peace prize of apologies, the other person is going to wait and see which version of you shows up next time. This is human nature so don’t take it personally but be a person who cares because in the end this is your reputation on the line and if you truly meant this person no harm you will do what’s necessary to avoid a repeat performance.


Final thought: Even this framework is flawed, simply by the fact that no matter what the structure of the apology – the person delivering it, must mean it – period. If they aren’t sincere, don’t waste everyone’s time. The other key element to remember here is that this is not a one and done event. Many times, apologies don’t land the first time or the second or even the third. Be prepared to dig in for a while if the circumstances require it. Lastly, just because you are ready to apologize – doesn’t mean the other person is ready to accept it.

The floor is yours: What’s your best practice for apologizing?

Please leave your comment below as your insights are greatly appreciated and a learning opportunity for everyone reading this article.

With leadership,

Joshua /

Please ‘Follow’ if you would like to hear more from me in the future.