In this guest post, Teri Aulph shares insights on how to influence the work place climate and the relationships that surrounds us. Leadership is influence and influence is exerted in the people space of life, which can be unfriendly and unproductive at times. Consider how to make a difference with Teri’s practical suggestions.
Do you know someone who was in the wrong place at the wrong time and found they were victim to someone’s bad behavior?Remember when you were a teenager and your parents warned you to be cautious about with whom you hung out?
Influence is a powerful skill. It is not exclusive to designated ‘leaders’, it is often found running rampant in the ‘evil-doer’ group, as well. The defining difference is those who influence with positive intent tend to do so by example. They are not covert in how they deal with others and demonstrate a more transparent model of behavior. Their success is a by-product of how they choose to treat people, make positive choices and manage their careers…as opposed to those who create false facades and manipulate others and situations.
Those who have the ability to negatively impact your success take a very different approach. They often recruit others into their circle in order to gain negative consensus about the company, managers, co-workers, etc. They like to work through people to stir the pot or rock the boat. In this way, the light rarely shines on them minimizing their exposure. These people take the credit for the good results and point fingers of blame when things go wrong.
How can this potentially affect your success?
Most managers are aware of who these people are. They watch to see who migrates into their circles and may form opinions about people who choose to spend time with them. Why they don’t move them out is a different issue and one for a different article.
If you find yourself in a workgroup or team with people who focus on destroying individuals, companies and/or general morale, I suggest the following:
- Keep in mind negativity and destruction can only flourish if fed. Avoid feeling pressured to participate. Turning a deaf ear and withholding attention from these people will send a message that you aren’t available to partake.
- Identify people within your workgroup or team who are strong, productive and have a sense of moving forward with positive intent. These people do not spend time focusing on what isn’t working, but focus on continual improvement and celebrating success.
- Beware of those who enter into your company as ‘too good to be true’ and have a tendency to always agree and say what people want to hear. If they target decision makers for attention by overtly agreeing and lavishing compliments – red flags should fly.
- Destructive people rarely send consistent messages. They alter their attitudes, language and behavior based on to whom they are speaking. You may hear them bashing a manager to a group of co-workers and later find he/she lavishing praise on the same manager face-to-face. This is certainly not sustainable behavior, but may create havoc before it is discovered.
- Never compromise your personal integrity and ethics. Trust your instincts and if something ‘feels’ wrong, it probably should be questioned and is most likely wrong.
- Organizational cultures often feed negativity by lack of communication, without even realizing the result. If you find yourself surrounded by employees questioning management, try to get to the truth. Often it is very different than the creation of rumors.
- Last, but not least, be positive. This is one of the most powerful traits you have the ability to control. Assume positive intent and avoid those who spread negativity and relish in the demise of others.
There is no perfect workplace, but we can influence the climate and landscape of what surrounds us. Find a way to remain focused on what is working well today and how it can be improved tomorrow.