Dysfunction, dysfunction, dysfunction.
We live in a dysfunctional world filled with dysfunctional people.
At some level all of us have issues or psychological “woundedness” that can hinder us from being effective team players. Perhaps, our wound is a result of a traumatic childhood event, a dilemma or an act of rejection. In an ideal world all wounds heal. Ideally, the process of healing frees us once again to function as biology and nature intended. Without going into the details of human biology, many factors work together within and without our tissues to bring about healing and a return to normal. In the same way, many factors working in concert are needed for psychological wounds to heal.
The right conditions are just not always present. It doesn’t take a great level of discerning to recognize the wounds that will and the wounds that won’t heal. Some wounds are deep and may never heal. Others can with proper self-directed or professional intervention heal.
We can all identify some stage in our lives where we just never got the stuff we needed to thrive. We became wounded and then, according to Choice Theory, chose a purposeful coping strategy. We behave in a way that is purposeful, in that it helps us to cope. At times, our purposeful coping strategy is ineffective if not down right antisocial when played out in a team setting.
The playing field of past issues or “woundedness” is our emotions. The purpose of the article is not to suggest the invidious strategy of sucking it up and moving on. Yet, moving on is important. I won’t even suggest, what I would consider the more simplistic if not callous admonition masquerading as a solution, of checking ones emotions at the door.
Sure, the emotional drubbing our wounds create can lead us to be instigators of some real serious drama in the workplace. Drama that might give credence to pursuing simplistic admonitions about checking trolls at the front door. Yet, avoiding drama is best done through a more thoughtful, systematic approach. Debra Madel, in her book Your Boss is not Your Mother, suggest ideas for preventing your issues form creating drama in the workplace as follows:
- Befriend your issues, wounds – don’t deny, ignore, bury, or block them – strive to show compassion to self.
- Identify and acknowledge how your issues can make a mess of your professional life – what is my contribution to the drama in my workplace?
- Acknowledge that it’s unrealistic to expect workplace relationships to be your mother – People in your workplace can’t make up for what you didn’t get. Moreover, you may be projecting thoughts and reactions from past, older experiences on new ones.
- Relationships should support and not stifle your professional and personal growth and advancement – set boundaries with people you work with; boundaries that make clear what is toxic to you.
- Disengage from power struggles – learn how to get your point across without controling others.
- Know when to stay in a job and when to quit – a crazy environment will infect even the most balanced personalities over time.
- Take a balanced approach to your work persona: be light-hearted and playful while simultaneously maintaining professionalism. Strife not to take yourself too seriously.
My recommendation. Pick one of the above ideas and work it in the New Year.