New habits can be tough to introduce to the workplace. People like predictability. When you show up differently – even if the change is for the better – it is still different, and you may feel pressure from others to go back to how you were “before.”
Still, change starts with you. Choose a specific situation, conversation, or relationship that creates difficulty or unhappiness for you. Notice how you behave or the choices you make in that situation. Now, notice the internal conversation you have with yourself each time it occurs. Try shifting that conversation to something more positive.
An executive client was having difficulty working with his CEO because he felt the boss was too hard to pin down. His perception was that the CEO changed her mind too often and was unable to make a decision. He found himself so focused on taking notes and analyzing ideas that he was constantly exhausted after their meetings.
We looked at the situation from different angles. I invited my client to consider that the CEO, a high-energy extravert, was perhaps just “thinking out loud” and did not need him to create action plans. So he shifted his internal conversation from, “Oh no, here we go again” to “Let’s have some fun with this!” He stopped taking notes and began to practice active listening when the boss went off on tangents.
A few weeks later she thanked him for being such a great listener, saying, “I really appreciate being able to talk things over with you. Sometimes I just need to sort out the issues before I talk with the rest of the team.”
Practice does not make perfect. Practice does, however, build capacity and can serve to recalibrate us at whatever level we aim.
Remember, Leadership is not about a title. Anyone can be a leader who stretches new “muscles” and practices new behaviors that improve their relationships with others.
Jim Smith, PCC, is The Executive Happiness Coach®. He is an international speaker, executive and life coach, and author. He provides his clients with inspiration and practical tools to live a happier life and build more positive work cultures. He is the author of Happiness At The Speed of Life: 13 Powerful Strategies for Finding Happiness at Home and On The Job, and has touched the lives of over 10,000 people worldwide through his work on Positive Emotion and Leadership. You can connect with Jim at theexecutivehappinesscoach.com.