Workplace Negativity

Negativity breeds negativity.
Have you noticed signs in an array of businesses reminding people to be kind to the staff and that they would be asked to leave if they were at all abusive? We’ve noticed this in doctors’ offices, restaurants, car repair shops, boutiques, and even grocery stores.

What about in your workplace? Have you observed team members, peers, strategic partners, or clients getting “snarky” with one another? Some feel this negative behavior is on the rise, and individuals and organizations alike are being impacted. Examples include:

  • Reduced productivity due to worrying about the incident
  • A decline in commitment and quality of work performed
  • Lack of participation in meetings
  • Frustrations spilling over to customer interactions
  • Increased absenteeism
  • Loss of creativity and collaboration
  • Desire to work alone
  • Quitting their job!

Gary S. Topchik, author of Managing Workplace Negativity, shares that a loss of confidence, control, or community is common when negativity prevails.  He also says it’s a killer of workplace efficiency and provides warning signs to look for:

  • increased customer complaints
  • increased error rates
  • declining work quality
  • increased employee turnover

As leaders we need to model the behaviors we want others to display and immediately address any negativity. The second part isn’t always easy as many interactions occur that we are not part of.  We do need to listen to what’s happening around us; this is increasingly challenging with working remotely so in meetings or during one on one calls pay attention to voices. How’s the energy level sound? If on video calls, how’s the posture? Who’s engaged and who isn’t? Have you observed any changes in work ethics?

Don’t hesitate to follow up and ask individuals how things are going, how things could be improved upon, and if there’s anything you should be made aware of. Don’t be surprised at what you may hear!


Mike and Jan

There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference.
The little difference is attitude.
The big difference is whether its positive or negative.
–W. Clement Stone

9 Development Lessons

Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement,
achievement, and success have no meaning.
–Benjamin Franklin
It may be getting old to hear that we encourage a commitment for continual learning; that what got us to where we are today will not sustain us for “tomorrow”, and that some lessons are timeless?

Success Magazines Commemorative Issue entitled “All Time Best Advise – 1897 to 2022” is a great read. (Matter of fact we encourage reading their publications regularly!). One of the articles called “9 Timeless Personal Development Lessons That Have Persisted For Decades” is worth highlighting. (To obtain the details you’ll need to buy the magazine!).

The 9 points are:
  1. Failure Is A Key Component of Growth
  2. Positive Thinking Is Powerful
  3. Who You Surround Yourself With Matters
  4. Gratitude Is A Game Changer
  5. An Action Plan Is Necessary For Change
  6. Money Matters
  7. Bad Habits Can Break Us
  8. Mental and Physical Health Are Part Of the Big Picture
  9. Connecting To Your Purpose Is Crucial

Are there any that you feel are not important?  Do you agree that:
  • We learn from failure?
  • That our mindset plays a huge role in our ability to succeed?
  • That those we with interact with may impact us both positively and negatively?
  • That acknowledging and being appreciative of our successes matters?
  • That change must include goals, measures, and the “what by when”?
  • That being passionate about what we do is essential, but we must realistically earn a living?
  • That bad habits must be replaced with positive ones for growth to occur?
  • That without good health we will face more challenges and obstacles than normal?
  • That we need a purpose, and that our behaviors and actions must be connected to that purpose?

Certain lessons are indeed timeless!


Mike and Jan

The journey is never ending. There’s always gonna be growth, improvement, adversity; you just gotta take it all in and do what’s right, continue to grow, continue to live in the moment.
–Antonio Brown

Team Needs

Teamwork is the engine for a high performance work culture.
-Rick Conlow
Can you think of a team that you worked with, where it didn’t really seem like work, where you enjoyed the workday, and where teammates listened to and inspired one another to obtain results?

We’re happy to share that we did experience this; team members shared common goals, the good of the team was viewed higher than that of individuals, and differing opinions were encouraged and debated in a healthy manner resulting in a high-performance work culture.

Sadly, not everyone has had this opportunity.

We’ve shared Patrick Lencioni’s requirements for having a successful team and satisfying team needs, but they are worth sharing again (extracted from his book The Five Dysfunctions Of A Team). 

TRUST – A team needs to be comfortable with being vulnerable with each other about their weaknesses, mistakes, fears, and behaviors.

CONFLICT – A team needs to share their passions and disagree, and challenge and question one another.

COMMITMENT –   A team buys into important decisions (even if they initially disagree) once all ideas and opinions have been considered.

ACCOUNTABILITY –  A team does not rely on their leader to be the primary source of accountability but rather deals with their peers directly.

RESULTS –   Teams that trust one another, engage in conflict, commit to decisions, and hold one another accountable are more likely to put aside their individual needs and focus on what is best for the team as a whole.

We’ve also been told there is a need for inclusion, cohesiveness, and feeling valued.

Do you think your team would agree that their needs were being met? Ask them to be sure!


Mike and Jan

If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.
–Henry Ford

Perfection or Progress?

Striving For Perfection Is Anything But Perfect.
–Jairek Robbins

Do you consider yourself a perfectionist or have you ever been called a perfectionist? Once upon a time we viewed that as a compliment but have since learned we erred in our thinking.

Striving for perfection is stressful, and since we’re human, it really isn’t possible. Being known as a high performer with a commitment to excellence is to be valued, trying to attain perfection can weigh you down and actually impede progress.

Author Cindy Yantis shared the following thoughts about perfection and progress:· Progress is fluid and open. Perfection is rigid and inflexible.

· Perfection is exhausting. Progress is invigorating.

· Perfection wears a mask. Progress is transparent.

· Perfection is endless because you never get there. Progress is endless because you’re always there.

· Perfection focuses on what’s not working, the flaws, the not-enoughs, the old paradigms.

· Progress looks at what is working, the improvements, the discoveries, the aha moments that come from the realization of looking at things in a new way.

· Perfection is obsessed with time. Progress doesn’t measure time because it’s right now. It’s a continuation to the next right-now.

· Progress represents the in-betweens, the moments between milestones and goals reached.

Never stop striving for improvement but do resist getting bogged down with the goal of being perfect!

Mike and Jan

Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be our best. Perfectionism is not about healthy achievement and growth; it’s a shield.
–Brene Brown

FLY – Then Lead Others

First Lead Yourself, Then Lead Others
FLY – First Lead Yourself. We believe that to be an effective leader we must understand our style and preferences and commit to self-development before we will be able to successfully lead others.

Be honest about whether or not you possess (and utilize) critical leadership behaviors. Do you understand your strengths and work to minimize your gaps? Do you know what others need from you?

Begin with a self-assessment for the following 5 elements:

  1. Clarity
  2. Communication
  3. Coaching
  4. Courage
  5. Commitment

What’s your level of Clarity?
Do you have an absence of ambiguity in formulating where it is you’re going and your plan for getting there?

How well do you Communicate?
Is your message clear and consistently understood? Do you share your vision, mission, goals, and measures, and ensure tasks, assignments, projects, etc are linked to them?
What about your listening skills?
Do you Coach others?
How are your coaching skills? Do you build relationships and understand individual career goals and objectives? Can you provide meaningful and well-intended feedback? When things don’t go as planned do you think in terms of what COULD be done differently going forward?
(This applies to you and others).

Would you say you’re a Courageous leader?
Do you stick to your vision regardless of external influences? Do you face your fears? Listen to your inner voice? Link your behaviors to what it is you’re trying to accomplish?

Are you Committed?
Are you a continual learner? Do you hold yourself and others accountable? Do you do something each day that takes you closer to reaching your goals? No matter how hard it gets or who criticizes you, do you stay on track for what’s important to you? Are you passionate about achieving your goals?

Once you have the desire and skills to lead yourself, you’ll be better positioned to effectively lead others. FLY high!

Mike and Jan

In order to be knowledgeable in these changing times, we must pursue a constant program of self-improvement, a never-ending journey into new fields of knowledge and learning.
— Og Mandino

Visionary Leadership

Visionary leadership is inspiring a shared vision across an entire organization.
—Luke Carlson, CEO and founder of Discover Strength
Have you ever been told you need to be more of a visionary leader? If yes, what did that mean to you?

Per Luke Carlson, We have mistakenly thought a visionary leader is someone who knows where they want to go and has great ideas, but that’s not what visionary leadership is. Instead, it’s about sharing and inspiring your vision through-out your organization.

If you can ask the following questions, and obtain similar answers from those within your organization, Carlson feels you have demonstrated visionary leadership.

  1. What are our core values?
  2. What is our core purpose?
  3. What is our strategic niche?
  4. What is our big, hairy, audacious goal? (BHAG – coined by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras)
  5. What is our 3 year goal?
  6. What is our 1 year goal?
  7. What is our strategy?

Do you think your colleagues and direct reports would have similar answers? What more could you do to increase alignment?

We’ve previously shared the below, but understanding the “what” and “why” of your organization, and ensuring your strategies are linked with your vision, mission and goals aids with visionary leadership.

Assess and share if your organization is:

Customer focused – Your focus is on CUSTOMER needs and relationships and is usually higher cost, less volume  Ex. Tesla                                                                                   

Operations focused – Your focus is on PROCESSES and is generally volume driven with lower costs and high volumes.  Ex. fast food restaurants


Product focused – Your focus is on the PRODUCT where expenses are geared towards research and development ex. Microsoft      
Having a clear and shared vision, and an understanding of the type of business you are (or want to be) will provide guidance for growth and obtaining desired results.

Mike and Jan

Creating organizations that value a growth mindset can create contexts in which more people grow into the knowledgeable, visionary, and responsible leaders we need.
–Carol S. Dweck

The Eisenhower Matrix

I have two kinds of problems: the urgent and the important.
The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.
— Dwight D. Eisenhower

Last week we talked about how work can make us lose sleep, shared some thoughts about improving sleep habits, and discussed differentiating important versus urgent tasks. Today we’ll build on that a bit.

Have you heard about the Eisenhower Matrix? It’s considered a productivity, prioritization, and time-management tool that can be used to help better manage your time by reviewing all of your activities and projects and categorizing them. And, as the name implies, former President Eisenhower created it.

There are four parts to the Eisenhower Matrix:
Quadrant 1: Important and urgent / Do

Quadrant 2: Important but not urgent / Schedule

Quadrant 3: Urgent but not important / Delegate

Quadrant 4: Not important, not urgent / Delete
1. Quadrant 1:
Urgent and important tasks require your immediate attention are often date driven and generally help with goal attainment. These tasks come to the top of your to-do list and are to be done first.

2. Quadrant 2:
Not urgent but important tasks are generally not date driven and will help you achieve your goals. These are on your to-do list beneath “urgent and important”.

3. Quadrant 3:
Urgent and not important tasks rarely help you achieve your goals. Rather, they may be disruptive to you achieving your goals, while helping others meet theirs. Whenever possible, delegate these tasks.

4. Quadrant 4:
Not urgent and not important tasks aren’t pressing, nor do they support achieving your goals so delete them (or put them at the bottom of your to-do list).

The idea is to improve where you use your time and energy by placing each to-do in one quadrant on a daily basis.

Let us know if it works for you!

Mike and Jan.

The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.
—Stephen Covey