I have been speaking about office dragons for years and how to professionally deal with the dragons. Dragons were huge, dominating, fictitious creatures. Medieval writers had vivid imaginations for big, scary things. For many people, work is like a dragon. It can be overwhelming and certainly dominates well over half of our waking hours. Sometimes the people we work with can be pretty “fiery” creatures to deal with, too.
There are many dragon species at work. Three of the most common perceived species are leaders, co-workers, and self. We are going to look at:
- The behaviors of each species that makes them appear to be like a dragon. Notice, I said the word appear.
- How to professionally deal with your dragons.
Leaders can appear to be dragons when they:
- do not communicate on the employee’s level
- give poor direction
- show favoritism
- do not follow through on what they say
- do not resolve conflicts
Co-workers can appear to be dragons when they:
- convey a bad mood at the office
- do not perform their part of a job
- are not a team player
- do not share necessary information
You can be a dragon to yourself when you:
- do not focus on the job
- let others damage your attitude
- do not see your own potential
- lack confidence
- take criticism personally
You can do more harm to yourself with negative thinking than any outside dragon. It is your thought process and attitude that controls your internal dragon. You have the power at any time to tame your dragon and put out the fire of any dragon-like qualities.
Here are 5 strategies you can use with any of the dragons:
- Act … Don’t React. Reaction cycles never end. Only when you decide to think and act independently will you progress toward your goal. Reacting is responding to your immediate feeling. It puts you at the mercy of the dragon.
- Stop the Mind Reading! Face it, we all move so fast that we seldom take the initiative to clarify things with others. Instead, we ponder a scenario, rolling it over and over in our minds. We “determine” i.e., mind read, what that person was thinking/motivated by/perceiving, without simply asking them to clarify.
- Focus on Self-change vs. Changing Others. A good first step is communicating with the dragon. Informing someone and offering suggestions can sometimes be helpful because people don’t always see their negative attitude or behavior. In the final analysis, however, every adult does as he or she chooses. When you can’t change a situation or a person’s behavior, look at changing your view about this person. You can still control your attitude.
- Take Independent Steps Toward Your Goals. Determine what your goals are and write them down. List the one thing you can do toward achieving those goals each day. Doing this combines the winning strategies of independent action and self-change. Setting and achieving goals gives you a sense of accomplishment. This is a positive feeling. When you feel good about who you are and what you do, it naturally flows over to others.
- Make Friends. You spend more time with co-workers than you do with your family or friends. People at work must become allies instead of dragons. The work relationship requires respect, honesty, confidentiality, appreciation, communication, and energy.
- I personally have used all these strategies and know they work. I wish you the best in dragon fighting this week. The most important thing I want you to remember is that most of the time, the dragon is in our mind.
Founder and CEO
This post is part of Joan’s Monday Motivators, a weekly editorial designed to kick off your week with practical ways to create a new mindset, change behaviors, develop positive relationships and thrive in the workplace with energy, effectiveness, and excellence. Sign up HERE to follow Joan’s Monday Motivators.