For those with Anxiety: How to tell if you have a great boss

If you are functioning with Anxiety bravo you are doing well. Given how crap the world has become with politics, covid on and on it’s a wonder sometimes any of us get out of bed. If you are now back to work (in the states) or have been going to work all along, or if you are in the midst of a huge surge like our friends in India are enduring you likely still have to deal with work stress. Number 1 cause of work stress? Bad Bosses, coworkers are a close second.

If you have a bad boss you already know it, but how do you tell if you have a great boss? There are of course so many in-between that make up the vast majority of work bosses. Everyone has good and bad days you have to understand that. Good bosses? They are out there and that ideally the norm for all of us, great bosses however do 2 things regularly. They ask the two questions below, with the following elaboration…

  1. “How you doing” – This isn’t just the passing in the hall greeting this is them coming to your work area and asking you. They elaborate by asking about your family, your personal hobbies (if they know it). This may seem like a superficial attempt to become your buddy and it may be but a boss that takes the time to ask this and does so consistently does so because they genuinely care about you. Sure it might be that they care you are doing well to better your work performance but they still care.
  2. “How can I help you win” – This, in context to the first question is in all candor likely in reference to winning at work. A great boss understands that in order for you to be very successful at work you have to be doing well in all facets of your life. This question may seem odd and again self-serving to the person asking but anyone that wants to help you win, even if it benefits them as well is an asset that you want to nurture.

Don’t confuse these two questions with some notion of attaining a deep relationship with your boss where you are having BBQ’s together and your families hang out that’s likely not to happen. It is within the context of you doing well at work. A great boss cares about you as a whole person and asks these questions genuinely to help and make your life better. As someone with Anxiety that is a huge win, we need more people in our lives that want to make things better for us, even if it means they gain as well. I’ll take all the positives I can get.

So ask yourself, when was the last time your boss asked you either of these questions? Do they ask regularly?

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Work Place Drama: What would you do?

Work is a leading source of stress and anxiety, and yes DRAMA. Some people love drama, as an observer I don’t deny that when things get spicy life can be interesting but there is a line that you shouldnt cross because it can become harassment. So for today’s post lets chat about something that happened at work (article can be found here) and I will give my two cents.

From the article: “A woman didn’t accommodate her vegan coworker and now people at work think she was mean. She explained what happened on Reddit’s “Am I the A******” forum to see if she was justified. Her coworker Carla was never the kind of vegan that tried to convert meat-eaters, but one day Carla made a request that seemed unfair. She asked the Reddit poster to eat her hamburger outside during her lunch break because she didn’t like the smell. It was cold and snowing so she ate it in the only breakroom, but the move didn’t go over well with her coworkers.”

Now the article doesn’t delve to deeply but this is an interesting scenario and as a former manager I am glad I don’t have to deal with. So some of the points to consider:

  1. Carla is a vegan and the smell of her coworker’s hamburger was making her feel I’ll
  2. Carla asked the Coworker to eat it outside.
  3. It was cold and snowy, the co-worker refused and ate the burger in the designated break room
  4. Carla told other people in the company about this incident, and the woman with the burger is now deemed “mean” at work.

For more context read the article, it’s not long. So as a manager if this issue is brought to me I have to think of both sides. I can’t assume one person is 100% wrong absent of facts. What is described above doesn’t appear to be, on the surface as a violation of any policy. A coworker got lunch and ate it in the breakroom. Conversely, the request to eat outside because it was making Carla feel sick is not unreasonable save for the caveat that it was cold and snowy.

Work Drama ! Everyone’s hair is on fire !

Neither party is wrong here, and we do not have context on what Carla said about the incident to other people. Meaning, Carla can tell other what happened, its factually correct. If (BIG IF) Carla supposed the burger eater’s intent was to cause distress, or called her a name, or embellished the story that’s problematic. We don’t know if that happened or not.

So you are a manager or an HR professional and you get this situation, what do you do?

Answer: You have both parties in to meet and hear each side of the story. You ask if it is possible to have alternative meal times and if that would solve the issue. If Carla proclaims that the smell makes her, I’ll you ask if the burger eater can have the meal at the point of purchase and not bring it to the office. If the burger purchaser proclaims that isn’t fair, and that she is using the break room as intended, you resolve it by providing a 2nd location to have their meals (perhaps your office).

Now this issue flips, if a vegan brings something in that makes the burger eater not feel well the same accommodation and issue arises. This is a small, but very important example of what happens in the work place circa 2010ish on. I’ve seen things like this happened before, where one person is uncomfortable and accommodations have to be made. This is an enormous source of stress for management as this has the potential to morph. Any employee can now state that “X” food makes them feel sick, precedent has been set.

What would you do?

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