“How are things at work? This is a question frequently asked by friends and family, and when you answer it, you’re probably thinking about the difficulties you’re going through, or feeling a certain unease. If so, you’re not alone.
I’m lucky enough to be able to support managers and teams on a daily basis, and over the past few years I’ve observed two strong, opposing trends.
The first trend is that the work environment is becoming increasingly difficult for employees to grasp. Lack of visibility on the company’s future, frequent changes in organization and direction, strong competitive pressure, digitalization that disrupts working methods and requires the acquisition of new skills, permanent constraints to control or reduce costs, managers who are sometimes poorly trained and under pressure, whose objectives are to achieve operational results rather than to support or develop their teams, stress and work overload that can lead to toxic behavior. And you could probably continue the list…
The second trend, which is probably partly fuelled by the first, is that employees have increasingly high expectations in terms of well-being and personal development. They are attentive to their health, their work/life balance, and the quality of their relationships with their managers and colleagues. They’re looking for happiness, meaning and balance.
In this context, many employees experience frustration, dissatisfaction and even suffering at work. It’s a problem for them and for the company. Of course, managers can take action to address these issues, but employees have just as much to gain – if possible with the help of their employer – from developing new skills to adapt to their environment and feel better at work.
Here are 5 skills you can develop to feel better at work:
1. Accept imperfection: your own, that of others and that of your environment.
Here’s a major source of our suffering: our tendency to be perfectionists. To be a perfectionist is to strive for perfection, for a straight line without pitfalls, for total consistency, to refuse to fail, to have inordinate demands that drive us to permanent dissatisfaction. A step towards serenity would be to accept imperfection, to accept the constraints of reality, to make choices and compromises, to ask ourselves what is the best possible path rather than dictating what should be. And this imperfection can be accepted on several levels: accepting one’s own imperfection first, then that of others, and finally that of the world around us.
2. Stimulate your proactivity and capacity to act
Immersed in our work environment, we can choose to be reactive or proactive. The reactive person feels affected by what’s happening and lets himself be guided by the positive or negative signals he receives, whereas the proactive person takes the initiative and chooses the response he’s going to give. Faced with a difficulty, the reactive will say “I can’t help it” but the proactive will say “let’s look at my options”, the reactive will say “I can’t do this” but the proactive will say “I choose to do that”. For the reactive “They” have the last word, for the proactive, it’s the “I” who concludes. Developing proactivity means being action-oriented and putting your creativity, intelligence and energy to work on what you can do here and now.
3. Boost your self-esteem
We are primarily responsible for ourselves and for our own well-being. It may seem obvious, but to feel good about yourself, it’s essential to love yourself – to be kind to yourself, to listen to your basic needs and try to meet them, to listen to your body, your heart and your mind, and to look after them. It’s also important to respect yourself, to have self-esteem despite your flaws, frailties and imperfections, to appreciate and recognize your worth and qualities, and to celebrate your successes and achievements. Finally, in situations that can be difficult, it’s essential to protect yourself, to sometimes say no, to communicate your limits and what doesn’t suit you, to make sure you don’t forget yourself and don’t put yourself in danger.
4. Develop your empathy and learn to communicate effectively with others
Most of our difficulties at work are related to others. Whether it’s with a manager, a colleague, a customer or a supplier, relationships with others can be a source of frustration and sometimes even suffering. For this relationship to be as healthy, effective and serene as possible, you need to develop empathy and learn to communicate effectively with the other person. First of all, we must respect others and avoid judging them as much as possible. Then try to relate to them by trying to understand their experience, their feelings, their needs, but also by looking for what we have in common with them. Finally, to communicate with others by sincerely expressing their emotions, needs and requests, and by showing kindness, curiosity and openness towards them.
5. Cultivate a learning posture and train your ability to learn
To cope calmly with the unexpected and the many difficulties we encounter, but also to grow and progress, it’s essential to cultivate a learner’s posture. The learner is a person who understands and accepts that the learning process always goes through a phase of incompetence and confusion. ” Revelation is always preceded by confusion”, says hypnotherapist Milton Erickson. Before mastering a subject or finding a solution to a problem, it’s normal to feel uncertain and lost. So we need to learn to manage these moments as calmly as possible. Learners also learn from their mistakes and failures. Failure is part of the learning process, and perhaps even its main lever. Failure is not a sentence, a judgment, it’s a result, a response to an attempt we’ve made. From this unexpected result, we can learn, draw lessons and then try something else, differently, to achieve another result. Finally, the learner learns from everyone, encourages feedback and doesn’t hesitate to question himself, always seeking to find important or useful information in his exchanges with others. As you can see, learners don’t need to be taught in order to learn; they see every experience as an opportunity to progress.
Here is the podcast of this article:
Founder of WINGMIND, David Chouraqui serves as an advisor and coach for leaders and management teams. His areas of expertise include HR audits, leadership assessments, and change management.