Category: Workplace

Work is Not a Curse, but a Blessing

Today, I want to take you back to the first chapter in the Bible. “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” Interesting, that God ordained ‘work’ before the fall of man. Work is not a curse, but a blessing. Man was created to be active – to do something worthwhile. Do you see your work as an assignment from God? All work, both that for which we get paid and that which we do without pay, is designed to bring us satisfaction and to glorify God. The Scriptures say, “whatever you do, do it as though you are doing it for God.” With this attitude, use your abilities; work hard, and you will gain the smile of God. If you don’t have a job, then work hard at finding one, and trust God with the results.

Q&A: Quality Time amongst Busyness

Q: What are some ways to show the love language “Quality Time” when my husband works so much?

Gary: When you work more than ten hours a day, it can be very difficult to make time for Quality Time. However, if this is the primary love language of you or your spouse, the two of you must find a way to work it out in your schedules to have time together. Consider having lunch with him where he works, or cluster time together on the weekends. Everyone has time to make a living and have a healthy marriage.

Q&A: A Flirtatious Co-Worker

Q: A co-worker is flirting with me. I’m married, but I don’t want to jeopardize my job. How do I deal with this?

Gary: Draw back, and if they continue to press, verbally express to them that you are happily married and would do nothing to destroy that. If the person’s not gone too far, then you may not want to say something of that nature. However, you still must ignore their flirting and spend as little time as possible with that person. Definitely don’t eat with them. And again, if the person continues to go further, verbally expressing your commitment to your marriage should end the flirting.

Q&A: Expressing Appreciation in the Workplace Through Physical Touch

Q: What are some safe ways to convey appreciation through physical touch in a work environment?

Gary: This is a good question. We have all heard of sexual harassment in the workplace and we are sensitive to physical touch. However, there are appropriate touches, even in the workplace: a firm hand shake, a high-five, a light tap on the shoulder. Don’t allow fear to prevent from expressing appreciation through touch, especially to those who’ve indicated that physical touch is their primary language of appreciation.

Q&A: Languages of Appreciation at Work

Q: How can I discover and speak the love language of my boss at work without coming across as creepy? 

Gary: Most of the time in the workplace we call the languages the languages of appreciation instead of love for propriety’s sake. However, even in the workplace the languages speak to an emotional need because all of us want to feel appreciated. I think if you know your boss’ or your colleagues’ appreciation language speaking it may seem creepy to you, but probably not to them because you’re speaking the language that makes them feel appreciated. Don’t worry about how you feel but speak the language that you know will make them feel appreciated.

Delighting in Your Work

As the new year progresses, I want to take you back to the first chapter of the Bible. “The Lord God took the man and put him into the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” Do you find it interesting that God ordained work before the Fall of Man? Work is not a curse, but a blessing. Man was created to be active, to do something worthwhile; do you see your work as an assignment from God? Colossians 3:23 could be paraphrased, “Whatever you do, do it as if you were doing it for God.” With this attitude use your abilities, work hard, and you will gain a godly smile. If you don’t have a job, work hard at finding one and trust God with the result.

Q&A: Team Culture between Colleagues who are Far Apart

Q: How do we build a “team” culture when I rarely see my colleagues?

Dr. Paul White: Having team-members work from a variety of settings is extremely common in organizations.  As a result, building a sense of “team” can be a challenge and often needs to be done intentionally.

One aspect leaders often forget is, when colleagues work in the same facility, there is a lot of opportunity for informal, spontaneous interactions. Also, there are occasions for eating together at the office, and going out to lunch together with a small group.  Essentially, there are a number of times when you can interact socially – finding out about their weekend, what their kids are doing, leisure activities they are involved in.

In long distance work relationships, these type of interactions rarely happen unless you are intentional.  Most conversations (telephone calls, conference calls, video conferences) are almost solely work- and task-oriented.  So I have found that it is helpful and important to call and “check in” with team members, to see how they are doing, and find out about their life outside of work.  Sometimes it makes sense to actually set up a call with no work-based agenda, so you don’t interrupt them in the midst of an important task.

This is an important first step. Before you can have a sense of “team”, you need to know each of your team members individually.

Q&A: Married Yet Tempted

Q: “I’ve been married to my best friend for 10 years. I’ve never had a wandering eye but I’m suddenly finding myself drawn to a new co-worker. Is my marriage in danger?”

Jennifer Thomas (co-author of When Sorry Isn’t Enough): You’ve asked an important question. We know that it takes 100 or more steps to begin an affair. Avoid taking the first steps and you’ll prevent a world of pain. Simply ask anyone who has lived through an affair and they will tell you it is unspeakably tragic and regrettable. Be on guard for these earliest signs of an affair:

  • Noticing a magnetic pull towards someone who is not your spouse
  • Daydreaming about them
  • Spending extra time with them
  • Sharing confidences with them
  • Devaluing your own spouse in your mind if not also in action

If you notice these signs of a crush, take note. You are on the road to an emotional affair. First, do not mention your attraction to your co-worker. To do so would multiply your risk because he or she might also be feeling the spark. You must FLEE and seek support. Take steps today to re-focus on your spouse and make sure that you are speaking each others’ love languages. This is the only way to keep your love tank full. Read our Practically Speaking newsletter for useful tips to speak any love language while having fun!

Why Cynicism is Good for Your Workplace

Guest Post: Dr. Paul White, co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace

This may seem to be a bit of an “about face” for me – given my previous writing on how cynicism is a result of “bad” employee recognition or when employees question the authenticity of appreciation communicated. But it occurred to me that, really, cynicism can be a positive influence in our workplaces. How?

1) When people are cynical, they are giving us honest feedback about how they really feel. When was the last time that you heard a cynical remark from a colleague and you accused them of not being honest regarding how they really feel? (Aside from the sarcastic remark: “So, Janice, tells us how you really feel!”) Cynicism communicates from the heart, so you don’t have to question whether the person is being honest with their comment.

2) Cynical remarks give us a reality check with what was said, promised or done in the past. When people question the probability of the most recent promise actually happening, they almost always refer back to a prior promise or commitment that wasn’t fulfilled.(“Oh, so this is just like the time the management said that if we got the project completed on time, we’d share in the bonus the company received. Didn’t happen.”) So they help us remember what we said (and didn’t follow through on) before. They become sort of our informal historians.

3) Cynicism lets us know how people perceive our words and actions. Have you ever noticed that most cynical remarks are fairly quick, “on the spot” quips or “come back’s” to a statement? They are largely unedited thoughts and attitudes spoken out loud. And they fairly directly communicate how others view what we just said, did or promised – unfortunately, the message is: “I don’t believe you.” So most cynical remarks give us a clue that we need to work on our following through on what we say. (Sometimes, I will admit, that cynicism is coming from the heart of the speaker – that they are angry and resentful about life in general – and that their remark may have little to do with you, me or whoever is speaking.)

4) Cynicism provides the opportunity to learn what would be really meaningful to others. If we take the time to listen to the cynical comment, not dismiss it immediately as “disrespectful” and “unfounded”, then we actually can learn something from our colleagues. A follow-up question like: “What would could be done that would start to demonstrate that we mean what we say?” can provide some valuable insight into how others are thinking – and how we can begin to rebuild trust.

I’m not advocating for implementing strategies for increasing cynicism in our work environments (there seems to be plenty). But I do think we can learn positive lessons from the cynical remarks we hear, and then try to address the root issues of “unbelievability” that help create the cynical mindset.

Q&A: I've been approached inappropriately by a co-worker. What do I do?

Q: Several times I’ve been approached inappropriately by a co-worker. I can’t loose my job but I don’t know how to handle it. Can you help?

A: You won’t lose your job but they may lose their job. You should not allow inappropriate sexual behavior to continue. If they are inappropriately talking and touching you, they will also do that to other people. It should not be allowed in the work place and there are very strict laws regarding this. The first step is to talk with your supervisor. Put in writing, date it, and give specific times and dates on which inappropriate behavior has taken place, as well as what the inappropriate behavior is. This is the responsible thing to do.