Youre in luck. Karen Leland and Keith Bailey, the founders of Sterling Consulting Group, have spent the past 20 years surveying some 20,000 executives, managers, and staff from companies all over the world on a variety of core business issues. In the process, they discovered some significant trends that reveal the nature of stress and the specific skills that help people succeed in spite of it.
Bailey and Leland present these findings in their new book, Watercooler Wisdom: How Smart People Prosper in the Face of Conflict, Pressure and Change "When people talk about workplace stress, theyre usually referring to three things: change, pressure, and conflict, occurring either individually or all at once," says Leland. "We discovered that the people who thrive in the face of stresswhether theyre from Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, Asia, or the United Statespossess three essential abilities. We believe these three abilities are at the heart of satisfaction and success at work."
What are those three abilities? Leland lists them below:
Ability #1: Smart people are central players. The changes you experience at work, both big and small, can dramatically affect your point of view, mood, and energy level. New circumstances bring new challenges, yet no matter how joyous or upsetting they may be, you have the option to choose how you think about and respond to the changes you face. Smart people know that dealing with external change is an internal game that requires clarity of feelings, the ability to reflect, and self-determination. They also know that internal change requires a purpose greater than itself and an ability to keep going when the going gets rough.
Ability #2: Smart people create tomorrow today. Creating goalsboth personal and professionalsetting priorities, and developing habits of action empower you to manage the pressures of your workload and help make todays aspirations tomorrows reality. Have you noticed, however, that its hard to create something new, different, and exciting for the future when your focus and energy today are so diluted? By tying up loose ends and removing the distracting tangles they create, you free up your energy.
Ability #3: Smart people dance with fire. Knowing how to communicate and develop relationships with others is an essential skill that helps you make things happen. Its tempting to think that your work life would be a lot easier if it werent for all those peoplecolleagues, bosses, customerswho are so demanding, unreasonable, and frustrating. Smart people know that to prosper at work they must be skilled at reaching out and connecting even with those they have conflicts with. Dealing with conflict isnt a mystery; its a dance with specific steps that help create harmony and understandingif you know how to read and respond to your partners tempo!
Watercooler Wisdombegins with a self-assessment, The Prosperity at Work Index, which helps you determine to what extent you have the three abilities described above. It goes on to offer a wealth of insights, tips, and suggestionssupported by real-life examples from the authors decades of experiencefor attaining and improving your "prosperity skills."
"Remember that prospering in the face of change, pressure, and conflict doesnt mean walking around wearing an artificial smile of denial," Leland and Bailey write in their introduction. "To prosper, in our book, means to do well and groweven when prevailing circumstances seem to conspire to your downfall. Ultimately, when we look inward to ourselves for solutions rather than endlessly wait for the circumstances to change, we all become smart people."...Continua