The always-available executive is dangerous. He subtly undermines the people around him by telegraphing that his team is incapable of running things on their own. “There is no executive who is so indispensable that the enterprise will collapse in his absence,” says Ken Siegel, president of Impact Group, a Los Angeles-based consortium of psychotherapists who counsel CEOs and other executives. “We’re all going to die, and our companies will go on without us.”
Ask CEOs what drives them, and they'll talk about success, personal fulfillment—a few will even admit to be driven by the desire for money and power. But Garnett's professed appetite for payback is a motivation rarely leaked from executives' on-message lips. "It's one of the great undiscussables," says Kenneth N. Siegel, a Los Angeles psychologist and coach to senior executives. "Just as you don't talk about lust in the executive suite, you don't talk about revenge as a significant motivator for success. But it clearly is.
“I can’t help but think that the French may more likely choose a German over an American supplier, all other things like price and quality being equal,” says Ken Siegel, president of The Impact Group, a Beverly Hills consulting firm that does about 30% of its business with European companies. On a trip to Germany last week, many of his clients condemned US action in Iraq. “Fundamentally we are emotional creatures and nationalistic pressures are bound to have an impact on who is considered or selected to do business with,” he says.
Q. You’ve just had a year-end performance evaluation and want to talk to your boss about a raise. How should you prepare? A. You must also prepare yourself psychologically, said Kenneth N. Siegel, an industrial psychologist and president of the Impact Group, a leadership consulting firm in Los Angeles. “You’ve got to go into these discussions with a clear sense that this is something you have earned, not a gift from your boss,” Mr. Siegel said, “so focus on what you’ve earned, not what you deserve.”
Q. If it’s a celebration for your boss or supervisor, do you have to participate, even if you can’t stand him or her? And what about a gift? A. You should participate. “Buck up and realize this is part of survival in an office,” said Ken Siegel, an organizational psychologist and chief executive of the Impact Group, a management consultancy in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Q. What should you do if the boss is unwilling to compromise? A. If you ask for a lighter workload, be prepared for all possible outcomes, including rejection, said Ken Siegel, president of the Impact Group, an organizational consulting firm in Beverly Hills, CA. “Ultimately, everybody, including your boss, has a job to do,” Mr. Siegel said. “If the boss promises you that the light at the end of the tunnel is not a train bringing you more work,” maybe you should keep going. “Otherwise,” he added, “It might be time to start looking for a less demanding job.”
Ken Siegel, an organizational psychologist who tracked Nardelli’s path at Home Depot, called the choice “unfathomable,” “stupefying” and “a supreme statement of arrogance” by Cerberus. Siegel, president of the Impact Group, said Nardelli is “an imperial CEO” who will make life difficult.
Ken Siegel of Beverly Hills, a psychologist and president of the Impact Group, a psychologists’ group that consults with business management, says he doesn’t believe workplace friendships are real. True friendships, he says, can’t exist when there are issues such as money and status at play. “It’s a myth, desired but not achievable. When you inject money and power into the equation, it changes things. Friendships at work are an oxymoron,” Siegel says. “People try to create workplace friendships out of their own vulnerability and the more companies talk about friendships at work, the less real it is.”
“Extreme work is real. The technological age has exacerbated this problem beyond belief,” says Ken Siegel of Beverly Hills, president of The Impact Group, a group of psychologists who consults with the management of leading global companies. “You can take work into the shower or the bath. There’s no escape. (Extreme workers) often feel like if they don’t work like that, they’ll fail or their performance will suffer. They focus externally on the next goals, the next task.” Psychologists such as Siegel say the pressure to adopt extreme work behavior exists all around the USA and is not isolated to specific geographic areas. Farmers in the Midwest, he says, may feel as driven as lawyers in New York.
“It reminds everyone of their own mortality. You become a symbol of our own mortality and how much life is about loss,” says Ken Siegel, an organizational psychologist in Beverly Hills, CA. “People who continue to work, it’s almost like a stigma that raises concern for people.” Siegel also says employees with cancer can struggle with how to establish limits on their work so they don’t overextend themselves or cause more stress. “You have to set up boundaries about what you are not able to do,” he says.
On the flip side, “Bad mothers who produce pathology in their kids are likely to be bad managers who produce dysfunction,” says Ken Siegel, author of “So… You Call Yourself A Leader,” who says the business leaders he has talked to believe mothers to be more patient, but on the downside, too tolerant of underperformance. Siegel says there is a vacuum of scientific research on the mothers vs. non-mothers issue, and it’s ripe for a major study. However, employees do like to hire childless women, who often have a compulsion to work long hours. “They feel a bigger gap in their lives,” says Siegel, an organizational psychologist. Such women are desirable if the employer needs a workhorse, but it spells trouble if those women expect the same workaholism from subordinates, he says.
“It drives home how our way of life can be undermined.” It’s a reminder of how fragile we are.” And while TV or Web additions can eat into productivity, they reduce anxiety. “It increases our perceived sense of control,” Siegel says. Managers are even encouraged to talk to employees about the war in team meetings. “It takes the edge off and helps people focus,” Siegel says.
Delivering Bad News
Direct approach:Ken Siegel, Ph.D., a global managerial psychologist and president of The Impact Group Inc., advocates confronting the issue, whatever it is, head-on. “This is going to sound extraordinarily trite,” he says, “but tell the whole truth and tell it, all of it, all at once.” Nevertheless, despite the obvious, it’s not an approach a lot of managers take. According to Siegel, this is because psychologically people are affected by two dynamics: They feel badly and they’re frightened. The combination of the two can cause them almost unconsciously to mitigate and minimize what is actually happening. “On one level they might not be aware that they are distilling or being economical with the truth,” Siegel says. This is different from the manager who makes a conscious decision to withhold or distort information. “It’s much easier to forgive someone for their stupidity than their maliciousness,” Siegel says, pointing out that if employees find they’ve been intentionally deceived the consequences will be disastrous. The principle, “the truth will win out” applies to sharing workplace information, according to Siegel. What’s more, he says the employer that makes the assumption people will not find out acts in a manner that is degrading and demeaning to the workforce. Employees do find out, he tells HRWire. And when they do, the organization will never again have their trust and support.
Method of communication:The way in which information gets shared is almost as important as the message itself. “The worst way to communicate bad news is via email; it depersonalizes it,” says Siegel. “Difficult news should only be shared face-to-face.” But companies don’t always opt for “live” delivery. Managers use the excuse that they are too busy, Siegel tells HRWire, and/or they are in denial about the impact the news will have. Regardless, he says it’s a mistake not to present the information in person. However, merely appearing before a group and sharing facts doesn’t solve everything either. Siegel recommends tailoring the message to the flashpoints for the audience. For example, when speaking to line workers about closing a plant it may not be relevant that the R&D budget got slashed. On the other hand, plant employees may care that a new product failed. When addressing the “why” of the situation, Siegel advises against exclusively blaming environmental events. Statements like “the economy has taken a downturn” or “global competition has affected earnings” don’t really tell employees anything. What’s worse, such statements have the potential to create resentment. Employees expect management to anticipate and prepare for economic downturns and that steps will be taken to ensure the company remains competitive. Instead, Siegel recommends that management share responsibility for what has happened. If the situation is presented as “the economy has taken a downturn,” he says it should be followed with a statement like “and we did not plan well.” When it comes to delivering the message, it also helps to convey that the company is spreading the pain, Siegel tells HRWire. For example, if layoffs include management, share this information. “If there is some equalization or distribution of consequences it makes these things more palatable,” Siegel says. A general companywide meeting that includes the most senior executives is what Siegel recommends as the initial step. But it should be followed with individual department meetings. “Don’t assume one meeting is enough,” he says.
HR’s role:When a company has to deliver bad news, HR finds itself in a position where it straddles two lines. As part of management, HR is part of the problem. However, HR is also looked at as part of the solution. Ideally, HR wants to be seen as both, Siegel says. The best thing for HR to do is first acknowledge its role as part of the organization’s leadership team, as with a “we did not plan well” type of statement. After this initial step, Siegel says it then becomes critical for HR to provide a series of eminent, practical, useful tools to help people move on. These tools might include courses to help people write resumes, job fairs, and meetings with HR professionals from other organizations, he says. Siegel gives automaker Ford as an example of a best practice company, indicating that Ford is doing things to make people aware of their alternatives. Indeed, The New York Times reports that Ford is holding job fairs at its plants and has provided each employee with a DVD, titled “Connecting With Your Future.” In addition, Ford is making workers aware of opportunities related to continuing education and opening fast-food franchises. Providing tools is essential, according to Siegel. “I emphasize practical and immediate tools that provide a realistic foundation for hope, instead of hollow words about hope,” he says, pointing out that the right tools will help employees move from despair to hope. Yet, Siegel doesn’t see many organizations going the extra mile as Ford has. “It costs too much and it takes too long and most managers are masters of the quick fix,” he tells HRWire. “And the other thing is it’s extremely awkward.” It’s easier for management, including HR, to ignore the situation. Nevertheless, delivering bad news, with the potential to offer meaningful support, is a situation many companies face. And given the current economic environment, it’s a situation likely to become more frequent going forward.
Stress Is A Threat To Workers and Companies
“Stress and depression are major issues in the workplace,” says psychologist Ken Siegel. “I believe most work environments have become fairly toxic.” Today, earning a living has become so competitive that even in toxic workplaces, staffers believe their identities remain tied to their jobs. The resulting threat to companies is not just higher absenteeism from stress-related illness, but that those who do show up underperform, lose focus easily or argue with co-workers. Consider this: One-third of Americans live with extreme stress and 48 percent believe their stress has increased over the past five years. For 75 percent of Americans, money and work were the top stressors, according to American Psychological Association’s Stress in America survey. Only 28 percent of Americans reported they are managing their stress extremely well. The rest of us overeat or eat unhealthy foods, drink, smoke cigarettes, have sleep disorders, or take our stress out on others. Even worse, a new study found the suicide rate among 45- to 54-year-olds (people in their prime working years) shot up 20 percent from 1999 to 2004, the latest year studied, far outpacing changes in nearly every other age group. At the same time, the use of antidepressants among U.S. workers continues to soar. “Workers feel trapped in a situation that they are unhappy with and think they’re not able to take any concrete action to relieve [the stress],” Siegel says. But employees in toxic workplaces can take action: “Establish some boundaries for yourself, what you will tolerate for how long, and what you won’t.” Work-life balance no longer is a luxury, Siegel says. “If you lose your job you better have a great social network.” He also suggests becoming self-aware. “Don’t go into a state of denial things will get better, that your industry will recover because it encourages you to become passive.” Pay attention to your body for physical signs of stress, he says. And, create options for yourself to keep from feeling trapped --take a night course, go to industry meetings, talk to friends about what they are doing.
Fasten your seat belts. The slumping economy has now officially worked its way into the job market. The latest government report on jobless claims showed that 375,000 people filed new claims during the week ending Jan. 26, up from 300,000 two weeks earlier. Those are 75,000 reasons, in one week, for fear and anxiety to grip the workplace. This uptick in jobless claims and the barrage of layoff announcements creates an atmosphere of anxiety and fear--and that is when managers lose their cool; their respect for co-workers, associates and superiors; and their perspective. Even in strong economic times, the workplace can be, and usually is, a pressure-cooker. Once layoffs hit, every office in every company has the potential to descend into a cover-your-ass, blame-the-other-person hell. The pressure cooker creates a foundation of fear. And as budgets tighten and stress levels rise, U.S. managers working from fear, often (inadvertently) create ill will among employees and an even adversarial relationship with those whom they rely on the most. The effects don’t just hit employees once--they linger, lasting beyond the temporary business slowdown, and generating a corporate reputation, which is difficult to overcome. Clearly, many companies are changing internally due to the economic slowdown. In addition, there will be shifts in jobs from slowing industries to growth industries (such as renewable energy), and people will need to respond and re-engineer their lives and careers accordingly. Changes in attitude and commitment in the talent pool will create further change in the workplace. And while these changes play out, public company managers need to see this as an opportunity to help evolve their companies. Unfortunately, most managers simply revert to the easiest economic quick fix of layoffs to show that they are doing “something.” The first order of business is for managers and boards to admit when they have made strategic mistakes. Did they pursue a dead market or develop an unwanted product? Did they plan properly for the market we are now facing? Did they over-fund one area of the enterprise while starving another? The reality is that many, but not all companies, are feeling the pinch because of poor management decisions made during good economic times. The company was not strategically guided to markets that held promise for the future. So, leaders who can admit mistakes will put their organizations on the road to recovery--as well as humanize the organization they lead. But, admitting error is a rarity, while blaming uncontrollable forces is not. Doing so ultimately drives a company to produce a weaker workforce in the end. Think of the companies that have lost their edge--the American auto companies. Then think of companies that re-invented themselves, like IBM and Apple (which recently dropped “computer” from its legal name). Now think about Google, which despite its success, knows it is pushing for its next life. That is why it bought YouTube and is pressing ahead. If we think back to the dot-com bust in 2000, mid-level managers were laid off as companies tried to maintain profits or lessen losses. Many of those organizations no longer exist. No talent, no company. Tight budgets and scary economic forecasts create a pitched platform at work, especially among overworked top managers and abandoned associates. Oftentimes, the wrong people are laid off, and top performing associates, the ones most essential to keep, will always drift away to more stable environments where their talents are acknowledged and appreciated, and their hands are not tied. Eventually, companies who strangle and handcuff their employees lose valuable workers and will lose market share; they will be left unprepared when the economy recovers, which it inevitably will. In reality, the abusive or neglectful boss will only be left with people who will take the abuse, and all too often these are underperformers who have little choice in the job marketplace. So, incompetent managers actually weaken the organization for the next economic cycle, while, of course, diminishing their own value and credibility. So, if you are like most managers, complaining about your distressed workload and a life out of balance, ask yourself how many great employees you helped to (unnecessarily) exit the business. So, these tough economic times truly challenge top management’s mettle and force you to ask if you are a courageous leader or a mindless manager. The leaders that are open, honest, compassionate and creative will end up with a stronger workforce coming out of a recession-- and the good times will return. These leaders focus even more on being responsible, empowering, accountable and loving, especially during the tough times. Leaders will also use this time to take a chance. It is a time for the smart companies to snap up the smartest people. It is a time to gain market share through a company’s best asset--its people. You cannot shrink your way to greatness. As we approach another possible recession, here’s what smart, progressive leaders should do: First, be open and honest. Explain the real problems to staff, and ask for their input on how best to respond. This creates trust, and shows respect for the talents of those on whom you depend. Furthermore, your team members may actually produce better, more powerful solutions than managers--and oftentimes do. Second, genuinely help those laid off. If people must be fired off, find away to help them move on in their career--in an authentically supportive and empathic way. Lip service won’t do here, and the way you treat those who are leaving sends a powerful message to those who are staying. Meanwhile, do a real self-evaluation. In the face of layoffs, ask really difficult questions. If changes happen at the company, should they only happen at the middle management and lower ranks? Is the company being reorganized for a new structured economy? If so, what managers are needed for a stronger company? Finally, look around for companies that let their best people go--and snap them up. It will pay huge dividends as the economy strengthens. Dr. Ken Siegel, a global managerial psychologist, is president of The Impact Group, a group of psychologists who consult for managers and leading global companies.
What Essential Characteristics do America’s Wealthiest Entrepreneurs Share? More Important, How Can You, Too, Develop These Qualities?
Billionaires have a different view of what reality could be, says Ken Siegel, a social psychologist and president of The Impact Group, Inc., a group of psychotherapists who consult with global companies. Billionaires often have a desire to change the world. Bill Gates, who popularized the idea that you don’t need paper to write or calculate, is a good example. “If you think about where we came from, using electric typewriters, [Gates’ success] required a whole mind shift about reality,” Siegel says. Such leaders want to be the driving force of change and have some control over the way their ideas are implemented. Though the American Express survey found that top-performing entrepreneurs place a higher value on money, Siegel cautions against using money as your primary motivation. “The more you focus on the financial potential you feel you are owed, the less likely you are to get there,” he says. Instead, your focus should be on improving your services or products, with greater profits as the end result.
Why are people avoiding work? Kenneth Siegel, an organizational psychologist in Los Angeles, says that in cases of chronic absenteeism, bosses must ask: “What is going on in the office that causes people not to want to be at work? Consider those factors that encourage people to engage in avoidance.” Although bosses talk about maintaining a work-life balance, Mr. Siegel suggests this test: “How do managers react when someone calls in and says, ‘I’m going to take the day off to be with family or friends’? If they just want to be with their kids or go to the beach, they shouldn’t have to lie about it.” The challenge for employers, Siegel says, is: “How do we create a culture where telling the truth isn’t punished and where taking personal time is not something people are afraid to do?”
But don’t take my word for it. Ken Siegel, Ph.D., is president of the Impact Group (www.theimpactgroupinc.com), a Los Angeles-based firm of organizational psychologists who consult to senior management at giant enterprises like Black & Decker (BDK, Fortune 500), IBM (IBM, Fortune 500), and Melville Corp. “If a company won’t let you have in-depth discussions with your prospective boss, you don’t want to work there,” says Siegel. Why not? Because, he notes, reams of research demonstrate that the most common reason people quit their jobs is to flee a terrible boss. “People quit people, they don’t quit companies,” he says. “All any company really is, is people interacting with each other. So, if you don’t know the people you’ll be dealing with, you really don’t know anything about the job.” As for the notion that the CFO is too busy to meet with you, that’s likely a smokescreen (see Possibility #1 above) or an alarming sign of things to come (as per Possibility #2). “If he can’t find time to meet with you now, when the organization is trying to put its best foot forward, what’s going to happen later when you work with him and you need his input or his support?” Siegel asks. “These days, everyone has to take responsibility for his or her own career, and that means you need to pick your boss even more carefully than [hiring managers] are picking you,” Siegel adds. “You and the person you report to don’t have to be exactly alike and see eye-to-eye on everything - in fact, it’s usually better if that’s not the case - but you do need to identify potential sources of conflict and decide whether this is someone you can communicate with.” As long as the company where you’re interviewing is keeping the CFO behind a curtain like the Wizard of Oz, how will you know? So yes, do insist on a meeting - and if you get more hemming and hawing, move on. There are lots of other opportunities out there, so be selective,” says Siegel. “Go into interviews with the attitude that they’re lucky to have you as a candidate, and choose where you’ll allow yourself to work.”
Workaholic New Yorkers too Busy to Attend Their Self-help Meetings
“The world has become significantly more competitive and work is the foundation of many people’s self-esteem,” said Ken Siegel, president of Impact, a Los Angeles group of psychologists. They relabel “workaholism” with less pejorative words such as “driven” or “ambitious,” said Siegel. “But the cost is very real. Look at the divorce rate, prescriptions for anti-anxiety pills.”
“Unfortunately, what I find is employers do more wrong than right,” says Ken Siegel, a management psychologist and president of the Impact Group, a Los Angeles-based group of psychotherapists who consult with companies. “I think it’s very much a case of the road to hell being paved with good intentions.” The potential pitfalls are numerous, according to Siegel and other experts in the field. Insufficiently trained managers can be inept in the art of recognition, resulting in anemic efforts. Sprawling companies built through mergers and acquisitions can develop a patchwork-style recognition approach, breeding internal resentment. Plus, surprisingly few employers track results.
Managing For Success - Calling Timeout For Over connected Execs In the Workplace
The need to constantly check one’s messages is creating a strong dependence for some mobile workers, says Dr. Ken Siegel, president of Impact Group, a team of psychologists who consult on business management. Siegel says companies should develop clear policies to protect staffers’ mental health. “Clearly, this is an affliction for many executives; 24/7 connectivity is becoming a huge problem,” Siegel said. Accidents, anxiety, fistfights and wrecked marriages are being blamed on excessive cell phone and PDA use. The survey reinforces the notion that more execs are developing an unhealthy attachment to phones and Blackberrys, Siegel says. “They don’t call it the CrackBerry for nothing,” he said half-jokingly. “Just watch some people as they’re getting connected – it’s like they’re getting an injection.” An informal survey of Siegel’s high-level executive clients shows that they spend more than three hours per day on e-mail tasks. Yet they think that less than 20% of those e-mails offer any real business or social value, Siegel says. “For big deal closings or other top priorities, it makes sense to stay connected,” he said. “But the need to stay connected all the time, regardless of the situation, is an advanced stage of narcissism.
But no matter how many systems are in place for a surge in holiday deliveries, the work demands can be overpowering, organizational psychologist Ken Siegel said. “I think workers get psyched up for this rush, and then they get psyched out,” said Siegel, president of Los Angeles-based Impact Group, which works with businesses in a variety of industries. “The pressures on workers who deliver packages at this time of year is extraordinary. “This is a hard and demanding job from a physical viewpoint, but then when you realize the volume of packages that workers for FedEx or DHL are responsible for, the pressure is even worse. Even if they are 99.9 percent accurate, they are still losing thousands of packages. They are expected to be perfect.”
Even if the camouflage isn’t initially spotted and the candidate gets the job, it will come back to haunt him down the line, says Dr. Ken Siegel, president of the Impact Group, Inc., an executive, leadership and organizational consulting firm in Beverly Hills, Calif. “Which is better: to present yourself as youthful, or to present yourself as authentic?” he asks. Siegel says a male applicant who colors his hair is making “a false statement about who you are, and it will be discovered at some point. In fact, it is usually obvious.” “I know a number of executive males who do, and the water-cooler buzz is that they do,” he continues. “It is seen as more duplicitous for a man than for a woman. In the long term, doing this does undermine your credibility.” Better Ways to Stay Young Update your wardrobe: Siegel suggests shopping at Hugo Boss instead of the more traditional Brooks Brothers. Take the bull by the horns: If you’re concerned your appearance raises issues associated with age, Siegel suggests revealing facts about yourself that show strength in the very areas where popular stereotypes point to weakness. For instance, talk about incidents where you demonstrated physical vigor, comfort with working long hours, and computer-savvy. You could even say something like, “I realize my hair conveys a more senior image, but in fact I work extraordinarily hard.” He likens this approach to a blond walking into an interview and “laying her Ph.D. on the table.” “It can come off well when you highlight things that seem to countermand what you think others’ perceptions might be,” Siegel explains. “You’re rewriting the script for that stereotype.”
"There's no real preparation you can do from a content perspective," agrees Dr. Ken Siegel, president of the Impact Group Inc., a consulting firm in Beverly Hills, Calif. A psychologist, Siegel cites two ways trying to beat a test can backfire. In the first place, you'll be presenting yourself as something you're not. In addition, booking up in hopes of acing a test creates anxiety, and "anxiety always interferes with test performance," regardless of the type of test, Siegel says. If studying won't help, what good is there in asking which test you'll be taking? Siegel counsels applicants to approach pre-employment tests as an opportunity for both the applicant and the employer to learn more about each other. So, an employer's response to questions about the nature of the test and its role in the hiring decision can be revealing in itself. Ask how the results will be used. "Candidates should always ask, 'How are the results going to be used. And, will you share the results with me whether I get hired or not?'" says Siegel. Sharing such information is the ethical approach for employer to take, he says. A company's refusal "tells you a lot about them," so much so, Siegel says, "you might want to reconsider your choice" to seek employment with any companies that won't explain the results' use, and share them. Applicants should also be wary of employers who seem to rely on test results over and above other relevant factors. "Anyone who uses a psychological test result as a (sole) reason to throw someone out, you probably don't want to work for," Siegel believes. He adds that testing should be used "as an enhancement of the interview process," with the results contributing roughly 20 percent to the overall decision of whether to hire a particular candidate.
Angry Consumers boycott Circuit City – Firing of ‘Little Guys’ Could Hurt Business
“I think consumers are becoming more and more outraged at the internal dynamics of providers of service to them,” said Kenneth Siegel, an organizational psychologist in Los Angeles. “From boardroom scandals at Hewlett-Packard to Wal-Mart’s union-bashing efforts, companies need to be careful with what they project into their markets. Very little goes unnoticed, and a lot produce strong feelings.”
Fired Via E-mail, And Other Poor Goodbyes
“The bottom line is this: To almost everyone who observes or reads about this, it represents a stupefyingly new low in the annals of management practice,” said Ken Siegel, an organizational consultant and psychologist who works with corporations.
“Physical attractiveness creates a halo around a person,” said management psychologist Ken Siegel, summarizing a vast body of research. “We still place a premium on physical attractiveness as a mediator of other things, and we do not attribute favorable qualities to people we deem unattractive. It may even occur on an unconscious level.” “So women may have an upper hand because they realize looks sell, says Siegel, and “men don’t realize it’s an important dynamic.” “You’d be a fool if you didn’t use your looks to your advantage and make the most with what you’ve got,” he notes. “Do not pretend it doesn’t matter. It’s a huge part of life in the 21st century.”
Many Boomers Underestimate the Stress of a Small Business
“Owning a business is like getting married: The level of commitment is extraordinary, the amount of pressure is high – and it’s unrelenting,” say Ken Siegel, a workplace psychologist in Los Angeles. For older entrepreneurs, “your body is less resilient,” he says. “The tolerance for distress is less – and you’ve got to face it, being in business is stressful.”
The same behavior that we dislike in others in the workplace is characteristic of our own behavior 79% of the time, according to The Impact Group, a Los Angeles-based group of psychotherapists that does management consulting worldwide. “We are blind to our own faults, but not to others,” says Dr. Kenneth Siegel, president of the group. “In order to notice a fault in someone else, you have to have some experience with it yourself.” I don’t know about you, but this startling fact scared me. I can’t stand people who have that “all about me” attitude. I despise workers who kiss up to their bosses. And aggressive people who come off as pushy send me over the edge. Maybe I should take a look in the mirror, or at least be a bit less judgmental. Siegel offered this example: If you were going to build the perfect bank, who is the best person to ask how to build it? The bank robber, of course. He knows the flaws because he thrives on those flaws. So if you are looking to be the perfect employee, start looking at the faults in others and try not to exhibit them yourself. Self-awareness is the key to becoming a better person. It enlightens you, gives you a clear head and makes you a little more modest, says Siegel. “See if you are looking through a lens that is exaggerated enough that these behaviors of co-workers seem more extreme than they really are,” he says.