Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Just Once I’d Love to Hear “Thank You”

Sadly few managers do a good job at positive reinforcement. Yet, encouraging words are far more motivational than constantly harping on mistakes. Someone wrote me these words, “My boss never says thank you, never gives me any recognition for a job well done. Just once I’d love to hear a positive word from him.” Gloomy commentary, but most likely we’ve all had thoughts just like it.

But wait, as believers we have a great advantage here. The Bible tells us in Colossians 3: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

If we perform our everyday work like we’re working for him, we're going to be recognized and rewarded by the Lord, whether our employer ever appreciates us or not. So, we can be happy to know that we can be assured of a heavenly reward. Does that encourage you? Now maybe you can find a way to encourage someone else.

Monday, September 27, 2010

If Only I Could Get a Drink of Water

This question has recently come my way: Lately I’ve been spiritually dry and I’m afraid this is going to harm my testimony on the job. How do I get out of a dry spiritual condition?

Every Christian I know has faced this dilemma. The heavens seem shut, and our desire to read the Bible and pray is dormant. We’re thirsty, but a drink of water seems out of reach. How do we get out of this state?

In writing of these dry periods, the prophet Habakkuk says “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my savior.” In order to apply this, I have found that I simply must set my will to continue to do what I know is right, and trust God to bring me out of this dryness in his time. I need to review what God has promised, what he offers me, and how he has demonstrated his love for me. I must rely on his Word, not on my feelings, and keep going back for reminders.

This is learning to walk by faith not by sight, and it can be a very meaningful time in our lives. You too probably have experience in walking through a time like this. How did you get through it to the other side? Did you find a good water source?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What Happened To Your Job Security?

You may work for a large company that is now downsizing. What if your job could be eliminated? Does that frighten you?

That fear is understandable, but it might be good to get a different perspective by examining your source of trust. You may have been trusting in a large, seemingly-secure company to be your source of stability.

Now you have an opportunity to learn to trust God in new ways. God has promised that if you seek first his kingdom, everything you need to live—home, clothes, food—will be given to you. You can replace your fear with faith by confronting those fears with God’s Word. It helps to memorize Matthew 6:33, Joshua 1:9, and other relevant verses. Try quoting them each time fear starts to invade your mind.

You can rest in the full assurance that God has good plans for your life and he will never leave you or forsake you. That’s much better than any earthly employer can offer you.

Are there other ways you can deal with the fear of losing your job? I’d value your viewpoint.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Job Dissatisfaction–Does It Have To Be This Way?

I’ve heard people express a high degree of job dissatisfaction lately. You may be in a job that bores you to tears. Or there may be a lot of negativism there. You may have a terrible boss. You may be one of those who are ready to move on but cannot risk quitting right now. Since finding a new job is slippery in this economy, how can you inject satisfaction into the job you have right now?

Have you asked anyone for more responsibility? Have you volunteered to do other things? If all you have done is complain about it, then you are part of the problem. Have you noted the positives so you can focus and build on them? Your management may be waiting to see how much initiative you have. Can you perform a procedure more efficiently or make a task more productive or be creative in cheering up your corner of the workplace?

Perhaps you didn’t investigate the job adequately before you accepted it—a mistake to avoid in the future. Meanwhile, I would stay put for now and try to make yourself valuable to the organization. How can you exhibit a joyful attitude? In what ways can you learn the valuable lesson of being content in any situation? What have you learned that may help someone else?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Help For Heartache That Won’t Go Away

Sometimes we have such a heartache in our family or within ourselves that we can think of nothing else. It affects our work, and people at work notice it. But what can we do?

What Jesus wants us to do is leave our burden with him. When I have a troubling situation, each morning before I leave home I spend time taking my burden off my back and giving it away…to Jesus. He said I am to exchange my heavy burden for his light one. Trying to carry around this heavy burden with me all day saps all my energy. That’s what happens when I’m carrying the wrong burden.

I have to do this by faith, and I have to do it many times a day until I can truly learn to let go of the burden. I need to be prepared all through the day, so when thoughts of that burden invade my mind, I can turn it back over to the Lord. Jesus is qualified to carry my burden; I am not. He says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. That rest is what we all want.

Where does your rest, your comfort, your strength in trouble, come from?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Three Things Men Look for in the Workplace

In my previous guest blog, I introduced the foundation for the basic findings from my latest book, The Male Factor: The Unwritten Rules, Misperceptions, and Secret Beliefs of Men in the Workplace. If you missed that article, it would be helpful to reference that first so that these more concrete takeaways have a meaningful context. Three examples in particular jumped out from surveys in my research of how men generally viewed things in the office.

The Unwritten Rules of the Workplace. The male brain works most efficiently at work when he compartmentalizes out feelings and approaches that (in his mind) belong solely in one’s personal world. This gives rise to a set of unwritten rules and expectations of how things should operate—such as “you shouldn’t really have the same personal feelings at work as you do at home”—and thus establishes what and who is considered ‘business-savvy’ or ‘high-potential’ if they flow with those rules. Yet the integrated female brain is usually not designed to automatically fit into those rules; personal feelings, for example, cannot be compartmentalized away. Yet in the interest of advancing causes she cares about (not to mention her career), a clued-up woman can, if she chooses, decide to not show those personal feelings in a scenario that she now knows a man would find uncomfortable. As with all these issues, there is no one “right” answer: the key is awareness and the ability to make informed decisions on how to approach male expectations in the workplace. Depending on your work environment, here are a few suggestions to consider:
o Consciously monitor just how much of your personal life you discuss at work—even on
break, at the watercooler, and even lunch.
o Consider referring to personal leave time for say kids events, etc. as generically an appointment, especially when you scheduling a meeting with your male coworkers.
o Limit or completely avoid personal conversation topics at meetings

How Emotion Can Be Seen as “Not Thinking.” Unlike the male brain (designed to process one thing at a time, very deeply), the multitasking female brain allows women to process a fairly high degree of emotion and still be thinking clearly at the same time. Yet since men don’t usually know this (since their brain doesn’t work that way), men view the presence of emotion as meaning that logic has ceased (“Shoot…we are going to have to re-do this meeting later”). It is powerful once women recognize the need to manage their emotional perceptions, and men see that women’s relatively greater emotional wiring can be a strength rather than the weakness they may have thought. (For example, that same emotional wiring allows a woman to read body language cues at a much earlier point, have good skills in empathy and listening, and so on.) Consider some of the behaviors he may interpret as ‘emotional’:
o Holding too strongly to an opinion—we see it as passionate but he may see it as being emotionally attached.
o Revealing irritation by tone of voice, rolling the eyes, or exasperated sigh.
o Crying or overt display of any emotion from sympathy to anger to humor.

The Power of Respect. One of my greatest surprises in my research for For Women Only was finding that in their personal relationships men needed respect so much that when faced with a choice, three out of four men would give up love to get it. Vastly different from how women might view the “male ego,” women are surprised to learn that the same men who look so confident are secretly questioning themselves. So it is relatively easy for those men to see certain approaches from female colleagues (such as asking “why” questions in a staff meeting) as signals that that person is challenging their judgment. By contrast, men have an immense amount of gratitude and loyalty for anyone—man or woman—who shows foundational respect in their daily interactions. Beware of the possible unintentional signals of disrespect you may be signaling to men in the workplace:
o Public criticism
o A direct, brusque comment
o Questioning a decision especially with ‘why’ questions
o Micromanagement

While these three examples merely scratch the surface of how to enlighten or aid women in their current work situation, they effectively encapsulate just a few of the results from thousands of interviews I conducted with men in the corporate world. The actual survey questions and results on the website is eye-opening for any woman open to understanding the ways that men in the workplace may be perceiving her words and actions.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Are You Coming?

In this impersonal digital world it seems like we have to struggle to maintain personal interaction. For sure, we have more means of communication than ever before, but sometimes we are overwhelmed with the amount of information coming our way. How can we avoid getting lost in the shuffle? How do we prevent misunderstandings and miscommunications?

Let me encourage you to attend Keeping Your Heart and Soul at Work. This one-day seminar will answer those questions and these:
• How can we develop a winning and empathetic way of communicating in this new environment?
• What do you need to understand about generational and cultural differences in communicating?
• How can you create community through these new media? How are relationships affected by technology?
• What are the most common email pitfalls to avoid?
• What are effective ways to communicate the love of Christ to our co-workers in this environment?

I hope you will join me for the day. It will be time well-spent, so just click here for more information. This seminar will provide a more intimate sized group than our bigger conferences, so I really look forward to spending time with you on Saturday, October 9, 2010. It's time to register now!

Monday, September 6, 2010

What You Can Do About Jealousy

This week I’m discussing jealousy in our broadcasts. One listener asked this question: “I’ve been given an honor by my company, and now my coworkers think I’m acting differently. I’ve asked God to forgive me if I’ve been prideful, but I sincerely don’t think I have been. How do I handle this?” Jealousy is interfering in this person’s work relationships.

It’s amazing how quickly former friends can turn on us when that green-eyed monster called jealousy rears its ugly head. Wise Solomon wrote in Proverbs 27:4: “Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?” In other words, it is more difficult to deal with jealousy than anger or fury. Would you agree?

When dealing with jealousy in the workplace, my advice is to pray for your coworkers and make sure you keep a heart of compassion for them. Do not be bitter toward them, but neither should you feel guilty about a deserved honor. Treat those around you with kindness. Let God’s love for them flow through you, and leave the results to God. You can’t change them; only God can do that.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Thoughts In a Sling

I had rotator cuff surgery a week ago. Now, I suppose that there should be some spiritual lesson to learn from having your right arm in a sling for three or four weeks, but quite honestly, for me it's just another reminder that the world revolves very well without my total involvement. There are times you simply have to let things go. For a driver personality, with very little patience to begin with, I am learning that I can't make my shoulder heal instantly, and therefore, I must be patient even with myself and my body! But I'm very grateful for the medical advances that are available to us today, because even a few short years ago this would have been a much longer recovery. I look forward to the day when I'm out of the sling, out of the pain, and able to function at 100%. Until then - God is still sovereign!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Boundaries and Sexuality in the Workplace

Often when I ask others to identify problems in the workplace, the subject of sexuality comes up. A woman may constantly be saying inappropriate things to a male coworker. Or a man may be clearly coming on to a woman. If you are in a situation like that, what should you do?

If someone is constantly saying inappropriate things, and you have not asked them to quit, could it be that you enjoy their attention? What other choices would you have?

This is a place for you to set a personal boundary in order to keep your thinking clear. A situation like this needs immediate confrontation. It would be best to go to that person in an open place and apologize if you have done anything to encourage them; then explain that you want it to stop.

Jesus said if your arm offends you, cut it off; if your eye offends you, pluck it out. He means for us to give no opportunity to the lust of our flesh, and if you don’t take immediate action, you will be inviting trouble. This sort of set-up is a disaster looking for a place to happen. You want to make sure you are not contributing to it.