Is Your Workplace Verbally Toxic?

Is your workplace verbally toxic? Are you bullied at work? You are not alone. Help is available. Today’s workplace is more verbally toxic than ever before. The daily news is filled with stories of adult bullying. To combat today’s verbally toxic workplace, interpersonal and organizational communications expert, Dr. Mitch Carnell, has released the second edition of, Say Something Nice; Be a Lifter at Work. The book greatly expands the first edition.

“The ruckus nature of the recent presidential campaign gives rise to a need to combat the effects of bullying tactics,” Carnell said. “Some people feel that they now have a license to verbally abuse others.”

The small book gives directions on how to give and receive compliments. It lays down a brain map for those not accustomed to giving or getting compliments. There are examples that are ready to use and there are concrete suggestions for creating your own.

Carnell says that there is no work environment that cannot profit from being a more accepting, healthier place to work. On the other hand, compliments must be honest and timely.

Say Something Nice; Be a Lifter at Work is available from the author at 2444 Birkenhead Dr. Charleston, SC 29414 for $6.00 each plus postage . It is also available on line at www.amazon.com or www.Barnes&noble.com.

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Be Kind

Parade Magazine in a major article on January 1, 2017 stressed the idea that we should all strive to be kind this year. The author suggests many reasons why this is a beneficial thing to do. I agree with the premise of the article 100 percent. Just be kind.

Being kind sounds simple enough, but when reality sets in it’s a different story. I was riding with friends this week when the car in front of us took longer than usual to move on. One of the passengers in our car became irritated and began to shout at the driver in the other car. His yelling served no purpose except it irritated me. I am afraid I was not too kind.

We all become frustrated. We often feel that we have been mistreated, taken advantage of, or put down. It is at these moments that we need to hit our pause button and re-think the situation. Be kind. The Parade article editor encourages us to write a Thank You note once a week for the following year – a great idea. About ten years ago I started Thankful Thursday on my blog. The idea is that each Thursday we will single out a different person to thank for their contributions to our lives. Please join me in doing that. Tell the people around you just how much they mean to you.

We are talking about simple things. Put the neighbor’s newspaper on his or her porch. Bring their recycle container back from the curb. Ask if a shut-in needs something from the market when you are going. Hold the door for a mom pushing a baby carriage. Just find simple ways to be kind.

Saying something nice to every person you meet is easy If that is too difficult, just smile at her or him. You can create a better world.

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Take No Bitterness into the New Year

Many people regard New Year’s Resolutions with the same disdain they attribute to the much maligned fruitcake. I am a proponent of both. For several years now I have made the same New Year’s resolution and I do my best to keep it. I will take no bitterness into the New Year. Whatever has happened during the past twelve months that tends to sour my disposition, cause me pain and create separation, I resolve to let go. Whatever offenses I have suffered will not be dragged into the New Year. As the years pile up, keeping my resolution doesn’t get any easier.

Forgiveness is not as easy as it might sound. Partly it requires developing a thicker skin and realizing that I take far too many things personally. I need to lighten up. This is one of the concepts my friend, Dr. Monty Knight, discusses in his book, Balanced Living; Don’t Let Your Strengths Become Your Weaknesses. Continuing with Monty’s philosophy, I don’t have to go to every fight to which I am invited. That is a major concept. Let it go. Tom Newboult, a minister of religious education, once told me that sin is giving more importance to the moment than it is worth. In other words, don’t dwell in the negative. I think Tom hit the nail on the head. What a great concept!

Turning a negative into a positive is another methodology for dealing with difficult situations. Since I administered a not-for-profit agency for most of my career, I am often attacked with, “Well, Mitch, you are just an idealist.” My reply is, “Thank you. I hope so.” The main thing about forgiveness for those of us who are Christian to remember is that we are able to forgive because we have been forgiven.

Susan Sparks in her book, Laugh Your Way to Grace, suggests that we rediscover the power of humor. She maintains that we take ourselves far too seriously. We need to repackage some of the comments that cause us pain.

Bitterness is a terrible task master. It will ruin your life and suck all the goodness you receive into a dark hole. I recommend a proactive approach. Go on an active campaign to make those around you glad that you are there. Build them up by helping them feel good about themselves. Say something nice. Compliment her or him in a real genuine way. Call the person by name. Offer a specific compliment about a real accomplishment. On the other hand when you receive a compliment acknowledge it graciously with a simple “thank you.” In my book, Christian Civility in an Uncivil World, I discuss the power of words, but I am by no means the first to come to that conclusion. The psalmist said, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable unto thee, oh God, my strength and my redeemer.”

Dr. Arthur Caliandro gets right to the heart of the matter with a three word solution. “Life is now.” That statement is stunning in its simplicity. Live in the present. Don’t drag past hurts into today. I was part of a vivid demonstration of this principle. We were planning one of the annual John Hamrick Lectures while Dr. John was still living. A potential speaker was being considered. I called the speaker to extend an invitation. He told me that because he and Dr. Hamrick had been involved on opposite sides of a controversy, he would only come if Dr. Hamrick approved. When I told Dr. Hamrick of my conversation he didn’t hesitate. “That was then. This is now.” Wow!

I make no claim that getting rid of bitterness is an easy task. You and I have experienced great hurts. Unfortunately we have also inflicted great hurts. I know that I am in the process of becoming and that God is not finished with me. Practicing my resolution of taking no bitterness into the New Year has helped me live a more productive, less stressful life. I believe you will experience the same happy results if you give it a try. It will not be easy, but it is worth the effort.

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Develop an Attitude of Gratitude

I am holding onto my theme for the New Year. Gratitude sums up how I feel about my life. I have so much to be grateful for. All I need do is look around me and I know that I am blessed. I have a loving wife, children and grandchildren that I am proud of, a sister and brother-in-laws that bring joy, and nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews that are wonderful. I have friends that keep me centered and that spur my spiritual and mental growth. They are wonderful story tellers. I am surrounded by creative people. My neighbors are thoughtful and kind people.

The church I attend has sustained me through the deep valleys in my life. The writing group I attend encourages me to try new things. Although no one enjoys going to see the doctor, we like and trust ours. Brandy and Jan, care givers for Carol and helpers to me, are simply wonderful.

My friend, Dr. Monty Knight, recently said when speaking of the motion he has lost in his right arm, “I am not unhappy that I can no longer do these things. I am happy that I got to do them.”

As another year approaches I want to develop an attitude of gratitude and practice it more lavishly. For one who was not supposed to survive, I am here looking forward to what lies ahead. Yes, there are still things on my bucket list, but I am grateful for the buckets I have already filled and for all of those wonderful people that helped me fill them.

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