What do you usually do when you encounter difficult situations at work? What do you do when you get berated by your boss, argue with a co-worker, or hear from someone that a colleague is talking negatively about you behind your back?
Like most people, your first instinct may be to become upset. You get defensive because you know you tried hard but your boss didn’t acknowledge your efforts. You get frustrated because your co-worker refuses to see things your way, even though you know your opinions and ideas are better than his. You get angry because your colleague is all smiles when talking with you yet backstabs you when you’re not looking.
All of these are normal reactions. But here’s the thing: they don’t have to be your only reactions when you encounter toxic situations in the workplace. This comes from the fact that, by adopting a few new habits and using several tools, you can change the way you react to these challenging instances and prevent them from having a negative impact on you! You’ll also have full control over your emotions, respond in a more positive way, and achieve constructive results from your interactions with your bosses and co-workers.
Turning the Tide on Negative Reactions
You can learn about the tools you need to use by reading “Turn the Tide: Rise above Toxic, Difficult Situations in the Workplace”. Written by Dr. Kathy Obear, the book provides tools and techniques that will help you know how to shift your negative thoughts and reactions into more positive ones and achieve productive outcomes.
“Turn the Tide” is divided into ten chapters. The first chapter introduces readers to the idea that they actually have control over how they react in different situations. Chapters Two to Eight walks readers through the seven steps that they can take to improve their responses to toxic situations, which include knowing what pushed their buttons and identifying the intrapersonal roots that affect their reactions. The last two chapters talk about using strategies that promote self-care and healing (which helps minimize negative reactions) and remembering that people always have a choice in whatever they do.
It might seem like a long read, but “Turn the Tide” is a good investment of your time and attention since it helps you realize several lessons, one of which that your emotional reactions are not caused by other people. Rather, they’re caused by several internal factors, such as your intrapersonal roots. These roots include your fears, unmet needs, old emotional issues, and ego-driven desires as well as the problems and dynamics you experience in your current life.
The difficult situations you encounter at work can trigger your intrapersonal roots which, in turn, shape how you react to specific circumstances. Specifically, they form a sort of lens through which you see the situation. This lens helps you interpret the information that you gather from what you’re experiencing, and this interpretation then influences your emotional, cognitive, and psychological responses as well as your intentions behind your responses.
By knowing what your intrapersonal roots are, you can gain deeper insights as to how and why you react when presented with a difficult situation. And, by pausing to reflect on these roots before you react, you’ll have more time to interrupt the automatic reactions that are generated in your mind, change the way you interpret the situation, and create more positive responses. You’ll also take charge of your thoughts, feelings, and actions, which means you’ll avoid giving people the power to impact your emotional well-being while freeing yourself from the burden of blaming others.
Another lesson that’s discussed in “Turn the Tide” is your own responses can also be a trigger for other people, which is completely logical. After all, if you get triggered by what other people say and do, then the things that you say and do can also trigger negative responses in other people. The key here is to acknowledge that these instances can open learning and healing opportunities for everyone involved and avoid getting swayed by the fears and defensive feelings that may swirl in your head.
Learning More about Dr. Kathy Obear
“Why should I follow this advice and use these tools? How do I know that they’ll be effective?” These may be some of the questions that would pop in your mind as you browse through this article and as you read “Turn the Tide”.
The answers to these questions are simple. First, there’s no harm in trying; after all, what do you have to lose, apart from a couple of hours spent on reading the book? Second, the techniques and strategies that are outlined in the book have been tried and tested and proven to be effective by the author herself.
Kathy Obear co-founded the Social Justice Training Institute and has taught classes on Effective Facilitation at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She has been an organizational development consultant and trainer for more than 30 years, focusing on inclusion, change management, conflict resolution, and team effectiveness. Through her work, she has helped many companies, organizations, and universities in creating inclusive and socially just environments for their staff while inspiring these people to be more passionate and competent in their work.
Aside from working with organizations, she also works with people on a one-on-one basis as a certified Martha Beck life coach. She helps them identify the mental and emotional roadblocks that are stopping them from moving forward and free themselves from habits, beliefs, and thought patterns that limit their potential. She also assists them in turning their dreams into clear and realistic plans that put them closer to success, while reigniting their passion for life, finding the courage to live truthfully, and making intentional decisions that further enrich their life.
Dr. Obear took her experiences as a trainer, consultant, and life coach and combined them with her knowledge of social justice and the latest research in positive psychology. She then used these to create “Turn the Tide” and come up with a guide that readers of all ages and backgrounds will find helpful.
Getting Your Copy of the Book
“Turn the Tide: Rise above Toxic, Difficult Situations in the Workplace” can be purchased from Amazon and is available in paperback and Kindle edition. Aside from buying the book, you can also read Dr. Kathy Obear’s blog, listen to her podcasts, and join her mailing list to get updates about her webinars.
More of Dr. Kathy Obear on the following: