Merge's Blog

Tag Archives: resilience

Three steps to less workplace stress

MichelleMay2Dr. Michelle May is a member of my mastermind group, a small group of professional colleagues that serve as an informal advisory panel to each another.  Even though she usually spends her time helping people break free from emotional eating, I persuaded her to guest on the blog today, writing on a subject that I know is on the minds of leaders (and their employees) everywhere – managing workplace stress!  At its core, stress is a medical issue so I knew that Dr. May would have valuable advice to offer.  And she didn’t disappoint!

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When you’re experiencing stress, your impulse might be to power through, freak out, or stick your head in the sand (procrastinating, eating, drinking…you get the idea). As we’ve all noticed, behaviors such as busy-ness, overworking, smoking, overeating, drinking alcohol to excess, isolation, and taking our frustration out on others, perpetuate the stress reaction. Continue reading

Workplace frustration drains motivation and lowers performance

frustrationLast week, I blogged about leaders who often get frustrated about aspects of their working environment.  See How to approach a difficult working environment.  A reader sent me a link to this paper: Workplace Frustration: A Silent Killer in Today’s Organizations  (published last year by the Hay Group) to emphasize that it isn’t just leaders who face workplace frustration, but also their employees, often because of their leaders.  Point taken.  So in the spirit of giving insights to leaders who want to make their workplaces less frustrating for their employees, I offer the following summary of the Hay Group article.

When held back by work environments that hinder performance, employees get frustrated.  Frustration is an inherently unstable state, so within a year, frustrated employees will do one of three things: Continue reading

How to approach a difficult working environment

CanongateI often hear from leaders who are frustrated by working within what they characterize as a difficult working environment. They feel like they are not given the resources they need, the authority they require, or the support from senior management they want in order to make significant progress towards achieving company, departmental and personal goals. It is in conversations such as these that I am reminded of the words that are carved in stone on the Canongate Wall in the Scottish Parliament buildings in Edinburgh.

Work as if you live in the early days of a better nation.

The quote is attributed to Alasdair Gray, who further admits that he actually paraphrased it from Canadian Dennis Lee’s poem titled “Civil Elegies.”

Just because you work in an environment that is frustrating doesn’t mean that you have to be frustrated. In your mind, create your ideal workplace. Identify exactly what it is that you’d like to achieve in your current role. Continue reading

Recovering from workplace setbacks

Usually when I attend conferences, it’s as a speaker.  But last week was different.  Last week I attended a conference where I was an audience member and I got to sit back and listen to a variety of speakers.  I particularly enjoyed Robyn Benincasa’s story.  Robyn is a professional adventure racer, known most for being a two-time world champion of the multi-day expedition-length Eco-Challenge.  One statement in particular that she made about her experiences caught my attention.

Pain is mandatory but suffering is optional.Pain_Suffering

Robyn was of course talking about the numerous setbacks and obstacles her four-person team faced over the course of the grueling 300 mile race.  But I found her message to be even more relevant to the workplace.  Whether it’s on the adventure race course or at work, we all know that stuff happens!  Continue reading

Are you a hummingbird? (Taking advantage of adversity)

Did you know that hummingbirds are the only ones of our feathered friends that can fly backwards? In fact, they can fly up, down, sideways or even stay almost motionless in one spot. Turns out that all other birds get their power of flight on the down-stroke, which means they essentially fall, then use their wing power to lift themselves up. And it’s why they can only fly forwards. The hummingbird however uses both the down- and the up-stroke. And as a result, it can do things no other bird can do – stay perfectly still in space, fly backwards, forwards, to one side or another, upside-down, and everything in-between.

So by taking advantage of the energy created from both the up- and the down-stroke, the hummingbird is able to do so much more than any other member of the avian species. It got me thinking about whether there is a parallel to be drawn to the human species. Continue reading