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what motivates you and the people around you

A 2016 Gallup Poll on the State of the American Workforce indicated that 51% of the workforce is either looking for new jobs or watching for openings.  Whether you are an Employer or an Employee, this statistic affects you, and so does turnover at your organization.  If you are an Employer trying to retain talent, it’s helpful to understand what truly motivates your Employees.  If you are an Employee feeling underpaid and unsatisfied, it pays to get clear on what truly motivates you, and where you need to go from here.  In both cases, money or benefits are typically not the silver bullet that will make people happy enough to stay.

Let’s look at a few different perspectives and then compile some takeaways from it all

Ed Muzio, President of Group Harmonics, posts some very informative videos to YouTube; to summarize his video, “Six Hidden Factors of Motivation”, He believes that there are six major motivating factors, and when you understand which factor best represents you as well as the people with which you work, you will be better able to speak to their motivating language:

  • Truth: need for learning and getting to the bottom of things
  • Results: ROI, bottom line, numbers, metrics
  • Power: a person’s role or title, or ability to shape events
  • Assistance: helping others
  • Form: harmony, aesthetics, work environment
  • Structure: stability and concrete processes

With this perspective, if you are an employee who craves Structure and you are in an environment where there are few processes and things change from day to day, you might feel very unsettled and de-motivated because you constantly feel like the rug is being pulled out from under your feet and you don’t know what to do next.  With this realization in mind, you could approach your supervisor in a positive manner, explaining you want to be free to give 100% to your job, but you tend to feel unsettled by constant change, and you can ask if there are any job duty alternatives that might bring a more structured process to your day.

Supervisors and upper management tend to be Results driven by necessity, and they tend to think that everyone working for them is or should be results driven as well.  In truth, it takes all kinds to make the world go ‘round, and taking an honest stock of where your employees fall on this spectrum might inform you that by trying to push a square peg into a round hole (and expecting everyone to care as much about metrics as you do), you might inadvertently be de-motivating your staff.  You could take multiple approaches to change this around, and two suggestions would be to modify the job when possible, or to modify your message.  When modifying your message, for example, without using actual metrics terminology, you can highlight how an employee is assisting others, becoming more powerful, or creating a better work environment by doing what they are doing.  Encouraging the productivity levels you desire by focusing on the goals that drive them can show that you care enough to speak directly to their needs.

I know you’ve seen the t-shirt, “THE BEATINGS WILL CONTINUE UNTIL MORALE IMPROVES”!

Why do we Fail?

Tony Robbins is a popular speaker, and I’m not going to link directly to his TED talk on You-Tube because he has a potty-mouth and I don’t want to offend anyone, but in his talk on “Why we do what we do”, he breaks down a simple switch in thinking that can help you or your team move from frustration to the fast track.  He begins by asking the simple question, “Why do we fail?”, and to him the answer is that people choose to focus on a Lack of Resources, rather than adopting a state of Resourcefulness.

His basic point is that when you want to do something, you find a way.  When you don’t want to do something, you find an excuse, so to counter the statement, “I Failed Because I didn’t have enough”:

  • Time
  • Money
  • Contacts
  • Experience
  • Management

Tony suggests flipping the script and instead saying:

  • What I lack in Time I will make up for in Creativity
  • What I lack in Money I will make up for in Determination
  • What I lack in Contacts/Network, I’ll make up for in Curiosity
  • What I lack in Experience, I’ll make up for in Passion
  • What I lack in support from Management, I’ll make up for with Resolve.

Tony says that “Emotion is the force of life”, so in order to move from the idea of Lack of Resources to a mode of Resourcefulness, he suggests you ask three important questions;

  1. What am I going to FOCUS on? (Past, present, or future actions that affected you)
  2. What does it MEAN to me? (this creates an emotion i.e. do you think you are being punished or rewarded by the situation)
  3. What am I going to DO about it? (this creates action because either you give up or move forward)

In this sense, your Focus generates emotion inside of you; if you focus on a Lack of Resources, the emotion generated is helplessness and hopelessness, and the likely action is that you will give up. If you focus on becoming more Resourceful, creative, and passionate, you generate enough emotional force to power through whatever obstacle is in your path, and the likely outcome is that you succeed.

Here are some great personal stories about motivation and overcoming adversity here.

Above all, remember that the place where the rubber meets the road in motivation at an organization is Communication, and we must all take the equal weight of responsibility and accountability for communicating; first and foremost to ourselves by being as painfully frank and honest as we can in assessing our situation.  Once we have completed some serious introspection, then it’s important to clearly communicate your reality to those around you in the most positive way possible, which can be difficult, especially when you are feeling frustrated and de-motivated.

You can Google a thousand articles about improving communication in the workplace, but here is a good introductory start provided by Inc.com (who recently named us one of the Fastest-Growing 5000 companies in 2017 in case you missed it!)


Barracuda Staffing, Inc. cares about your success: check back next week for more tips on increasing your satisfaction in the workplace, and remember that one of the best things to have on your resume is Job Stability; however, if you are looking for a new place to spread your wings and grow into a leader in your department, we invite you to browse our current openings in Tulsa and surrounding areas, call to talk to a Recruiter, or simply Submit your resume online today!

 

Many times, we focus on how hard it is to find a job, but too many times it turns out that the hardest thing for many of us is keeping a job.  Inevitably, once you start a new position in the hopes that you have left behind various problems at an old company, the honeymoon will end, and the grass will once again start looking greener elsewhere.  The reason this subject is important enough to blog about is that we see it happening on hundreds and hundreds of resumes every single day.  As we discussed in “The Tale of Two Employees” blog, this ultimately hurts your prospects for successfully advancing your career, because it causes your resume to paint the wrong picture about you; one of unreliability and perpetual dissatisfaction.

To be sure, there are problems at every company that are not of your making, nor within your capability to fix.  The very same thing could be said about your family, the schools you attended, your community, your State, even your Country, and yet here we are, nonetheless.  A few years ago, I happened to strike up a conversation with a stranger, who I discovered was also from out of state.  I expressed that I was having a hard time coping with some cultural differences, and she said she once had the same problem, until somebody told her to stop complaining and “bloom where you’re planted”.

That conversation had a profound effect on me.  There are so many things in life we like to believe we have control over, and while people generally believe we have control over our own happiness, still we tend to believe our happiness is dependent on other things being perfect, being done properly, honorably, to our liking.  Our spouses, kids, coworkers, bosses, and complete strangers should treat us the way we expect, people around us should work hard and competently, and we should get the things we want, otherwise we feel justified in complaining about our lot in life and constantly looking for more, for better situations.  

Of course, if someone else treating us better, or having a better work/home situation, is really what it takes to make us happy, then the truth would be that our happiness really IS out of our own control, and that leaving an unpleasant situation is always the best solution (which it may be in cases of personal endangerment).   I’m not going to throw statistics at you, but let’s just say the numbers show this isn’t the way it really works, because people leave jobs all the time – nobody seems to have found the perfect company, otherwise we’d all be standing in line to work there!  The real way it works is for you to decide whether to spend your life expecting an “inpouring”, or whether you want to instead become an “outpouring”.  

Are you a Tumbleweed, or a Bloomer?

We all have people around us, either at home or at work, who are in the “inpouring” state; they want better things to come their way, as do we all.  We can never do things to their satisfaction, never keep them happy for long, never quell their complaints, and daily their dissatisfaction splashes all over us.  The inpouring state is one of sadness and frustration, “Why aren’t things I want coming to me?”, “When is it my turn?”, “Why are people such punks?”.  I used to ask those questions too, until I started learning to bloom where I was planted.  Blooming means letting your truest, happiest nature shine through, even in demanding situations, and discovering that it is the very blooming of your own happiness that makes those situations easier to overcome.  To bloom is to become an outpouring of abundance in the world; kindness, laughter, knowledge, contentedness, peacefulness.  It isn’t until you start putting those things out into the world around you that you begin to see them come back to you.  It is the “outpouring” state that triggers the real “inpouring” in your life.

Sometimes you may feel at work that things around you have deteriorated so far, there is no way to stay there and be happy.  Occasionally, you might be right, but more and more often you might find that blooming and letting time pass may turn your entire situation around.  While you are blooming, change your focus.  Do you want to strangle the person working next to you because they smack their gum all day?  What they are doing doesn’t ultimately affect you but it angers you because you focus on it and obsess over it; stop focusing on things that don’t move you forward and focus on something that will help you personally or professionally; if you can have headphones in, listen to a podcast or music instead.  Are you a machinist outproducing your coworkers? Are you a welder unhappy with your boss or your workload?  Check out a few of our past blogs for some suggestions on how to change your focus to one of continual personal improvement instead of external blame, to determine if leaving is truly the best thing to do.

Above all, becoming a creator instead of a victim is one of the most important shifts in focus we can make in our lives, and this can help us become bloomers instead of tumbleweed; learning more about The Empowerment Dynamic can inform your decisions about what to do next in amazing ways.  David Emerald provides a simple explanation of this life-changing process in his free two-page informational brochure.


Barracuda Staffing, Inc. cares about your success: check back next week for more tips on increasing your satisfaction in the workplace, and remember that one of the best things to have on your resume is Job Stability; however, if you are looking for a new place to spread your wings and grow into a leader in your department, we invite you to browse our current openings in Tulsa and surrounding areas, call to talk to a Recruiter, or simply Submit your resume online today!

how can i get my employees to do a better job

Work group sitting around a desk working on a project together

It is always such a thrill when our company wins a new account or contract, but at Barracuda Staffing, we understand how new business can be a double-edged sword!  Inevitably at some point, every new contract or account means that the employees involved in production will need to step up their game to deliver on promises made and contracts signed.  Failure to motivate the Production Team will cause problems with your new clients and eventually end up de-motivating the Sales Team, who will begin to feel like they are out in the field making empty promises upon which their company cannot deliver.  

How do you get everyone at your organization to share in a vision of excellence, growth, and success for all?  Well, there are plenty of examples of how NOT to do it, and I’m sure most of us have at least three anecdotes to illustrate this point!  One of my past co-workers used to prepare for every productivity meeting by swinging by my desk and saying, “Ready for the group spanking?”.  These meetings would always come at a time when our numbers were down and the not-so-thinly veiled threat of firings or layoffs were put on the table to make sure people understood the severity of the situation.  Unfortunately, these meetings typically had the opposite effect, increasing dissatisfaction, which decreased productivity, ensuring the problem would come back to haunt us month after month.

Understand – Educate – Inspire – Challenge

First and foremost, being able to put yourself in your employee’s shoes prevents a deteriorating disconnect from occurring; when we disconnect from each other, we stop seeing each other as valuable assets and start seeing each other as liabilities.  The employer wants to cut lazy employees loose, and the employee wants to find a “better-paying job”.  In truth, however, employees are not connected or inspired by their paychecks.  Think about it, even if you won the lottery, you’d still be complaining about how much the government takes out of your cut; nobody is ever happy with what they make!    Employers are likewise not connected or inspired by highly productive workers – companies always need to get more for less as well, and every new production milestone can quickly become the expected norm; no matter what side of the fence you’re on, everyone always wants more of something.

Understand your employees on a deeper level.  So many companies uphold a slogan that their employees are their most valuable asset or resource, but when you walk the hallways or shop floor, it’s clear to see that message has not trickled all the way down the chain.  Your employee may have a child or parent battling terminal illness. They may be battling with childhood demons about absent parents, and they now struggle with the pain of not being there for important school events as their own kids grow up.  They long for more sunlight, more sleep, more time, more everything, and the job you provide is all too often simply a means to an end.  Making an employee feel like an easily traded commodity is the surest way to send morale and productivity spiraling down the drain.  This isn’t to say you have to start running your business like a charity, but the phrase “It’s not personal, it’s business” should never apply to people.

Educate and train your employees incessantly.  Actual time within every work week should be dedicated to continuous learning and improvement, and even though in the short term that can take away from today’s productivity, it will pay off in major ways in the future.  When you set the expectation of improvement in your workplace, you are sending a clear message to your employees that they matter, that you care about them enough to help them grow and develop in their field of expertise.  Additionally, you begin to eliminate the pathways for failure when you place a high importance on training and education.  According to a Veteran I spoke with recently, the Military has outlined four sources of failure for any particular objective or mission:

  1. There is No Standard (A failure of the organization, not the Employee)
  2. There is a Standard, but it’s not Taught (Again a failure of the Organization)
  3. The Standard is Taught but not Enforced (A failure of Management)
  4. The Employee Fails

To ensure that your organization is beyond reproach and is not the reason for production failures, make sure you have clear, written standards in place, and that those standards are well-taught and consistently enforced.  Anytime you think you have trained your employees to the best of your/their ability, think again!  A German psychologist named Hermann Ebbinghaus published a shocking discovery in 1885 that the human brain is wired to forget.  His documentation of this process is known as “The Forgetting Curve”, and it is still relevant today.  It takes continuous repetition over a long period of time for true memory retention to take hold, so if you have gone over something once or twice with your staff, don’t be surprised if it’s news to them two months later.  

Some studies indicate a person has to see, hear, or read something a minimum of 7 times over a confined period of time before it will be readily accessible to their long term memory recall months or year later.  How many times have we experienced a training roll-out where employees had to sign off that they received the training, and then the principles were never directly reviewed again until the employee failed?  Did the employee tell you they were never told about important information only to have their signature page waived incredulously in front of them? Build repetitive education into your process until your employees can recite everything you need them to know in their sleep!  Precious time spent doing this will give them the confidence and ability to succeed, reduce your failure rate and liability, and will ultimately increase morale and productivity.

The Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve – and How to Overcome It – by Sid Savara

Inspire employees constantly by keeping a sense of purpose fresh in their minds.  Does your company make parts for military contractors?  If that’s what your CNC Machinists or PCB Assemblers think they do all day – making parts – then you have failed to inspire them about their place in the world.    It may be that your machined valve or PCB module is going directly onto a Gerald R. Ford-Class Aircraft Carrier, a vessel that will someday carry over 2,600 servicemen and women around the globe, bringing security and humanitarian aid in times of despair and greatest need.  At best, a failure of your organization’s part can prevent our soldiers from completing their duties; at worst, a critical part failure puts lives at risk.  Any employee could be proud to be part of this legacy, if only they knew about it.  Perhaps your company makes Power Supply systems that are installed in hospitals; someday, somewhere there will be a mother hovering over her preemie on life support while a thunderstorm rages outside; because of your equipment, that life support will keep her baby alive even when the businesses down the street go dark. There are so many stories of how your company is making a difference in the world – these stories need to be communicated to your employees so they know they are part of a bigger picture, and their life’s work has meaning, because that is worth a hundred times more than a paycheck.

An inspired employee is a more engaged employee.  

In addition to telling your company’s stories about the true meaning of the work you do, browse this article about the Top Employee Engagement Trends of 2017.

Challenge everyone in your organization, not just production or sales.  Some of the best companies in the world teach their internal staff that their most important customers are their coworkers: we need to put each other first in the workplace whenever possible.  When Executives, Supervisors, and Admin Staff constantly look for ways to provide more resources to their coworkers, a tone is set for your organization that the people of your company are going to bat for each other day in and day out.   In turn, this environment creates employees that want to go to bat for your customer; couple that with a greater understanding of what their work means out on the global stage, your organization becomes alight with driven, dedicated employees who care about your company and the part they have to play.

If your company is following all of these steps already and still seeing high turnover and reduced productivity, check out this past blog about “The Drama Triangle” and start empowering your managers to become Creators and Coaches so their behavior can become examples to their employees on how to manage conflict in the workplace.


Barracuda Staffing was named to the 2017 Inc.com Fastest Growing 5000!

inc 5000 logo

Barracuda Staffing knows that when your organization succeeds, everyone succeeds!  Join us on LinkedIn for Industry and HR resources, inspiration, blog updates, and more; if you have never worked with Barracuda Staffing before, learn more about our process, our team, and our guarantee on our website.

When to ask for a raise

If you have been working hard, going above & beyond, and exceeding expectations at work, you might start to feel like you deserve to earn more money for your time with a raise.  This is always a delicate balance and must be approached only after careful and thorough consideration of several factors.  Let’s look at several issues to take into consideration before you make the long walk to the boss’s office.

Length of Time at the Company

Depending on the circumstances, if you have been at a company for less than 6 months – and in some cases less than a year – it might be unreasonable to expect a pay increase.  In many cases, the salary you were offered was the salary that was budgeted.  Budgets can indeed change from year to year, especially if production or sales improve, but in general most companies review potential raises on an annual basis (if at all).  If you were hired at a lower rate during an evaluation period (typically 90 days), this might be an exception that should have been spelled out in your initial offer.  

In general, it’s best not to accept a job offer at a pay rate that is just too low to be sustainable for you, simply because you expect that you’ll get a raise soon.  Give it at least a year and during that time, give it your best, then bring up the matter once you have proven yourself to the company and have done some honest soul searching about any potential ways in which you could improve.

Attendance

Have you been dependably at your workstation on time, every day?  If so, this is a feather in your cap!  If you have had several extenuating circumstances, it’s helpful to review the exact nature of your absences over the past 12 months.  Automotive issues are a common cause for lateness or absence from work, and from an employer’s perspective, there should always be a Plan B for getting to work in the event of a breakdown.  If you were on a hospital bed waiting for a surgery and the doctor called and said she couldn’t make it because she had a flat tire, how would you feel about that doctor?  Your own job may not be a life-or-death situation, but whether you treat getting to work with the utmost importance or whether you take a wait-and-see approach can have a direct impact on your earning potential.

Many people have unexpected childcare or health issues that come up from time to time: this is an understandable and reasonable issue for anyone to have, but how you handle matters at work can affect your success.  Do you communicate clearly and promptly to everyone involved or affected?  Do you try to find ways to soften the blow of your absence by making up time later or helping in other ways?  If so, it will be important to point out the exact ways you tried to mitigate the effects of unavoidable absences to show that you still do care about your job and reputation when family matters pull you away.

Production Output

It’s so important to measure and have a good idea of the volume of work you can produce in a day, or projects you can complete on schedule.  It’s also important to be able to show slow or steady improvement over time as well.  Are you always looking for ways to make your process more efficient?  Are you always looking to improve quality and reduce scrap or mistakes?  Anytime you can demonstrate clear and measured progress and specific improvements, this will help you at the bargaining table.

Justifying the Raise with Cost Savings

Did you come up with an idea or a process change to save the company money?  Keep track of your efforts throughout the year and do your best to assign an exact dollar value to the improvements you helped create: this can help take the bite out of the increased cost of your requested raise! Try to have additional new ideas in mind for your discussion to show you remain committed to helping move the company forward.

Attitude

This one is tough, because we always think we have the best attitude and that everyone else has the problem!  If you refrain from gossip and encourage others, if you always try to solve problems instead of simply complain about them, and if you are generally cheerful and pleasant to work with, these attributes make it easier to get ahead in the workplace.   Ask yourself a few questions when you contemplate this topic, and be brave enough to allow the first answer to come to mind; the truth can only help you become a more well-adjusted and well-compensated person;

  • Is it possible others see me as combative or difficult?
  • Do I feel like people understand me when I try to communicate, or do I often feel misunderstood?
  • When others criticize me, do I get defensive or do I see an opportunity to grow and learn?
  • How many new things have I learned at work (or in my spare time) in the last year?
  • Am I really happy to be here?  If not, will extra money truly make me happy to stay?

Company Situation

You won’t have control over this one, but it’s important to take into account the current climate or situation at the company.  Did they just lose a key client?  Does it seem like a layoff is pending?  If all indicators point to a healthy company that is doing well, then it could be a beneficial time to ask for an increased benefit.

Check out this video from Forbes on the Three Best Times to Ask for a Raise:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lizryan/2017/03/20/the-three-best-times-to-ask-for-a-raise/#71a718bf2b44

Know the Goals

It’s important to understand your company’s Core Values and Mission Statement.  Are you exhibiting the kind of behaviors the Company wants to see at their organization?  Do you believe in the company’s products or services, and are you excited to be a part of the company’s Mission?  If so, discuss it!  Let your boss know what it means to you to be part of the organization, and how you see yourself contributing to the overall goals.

Don’t Make Your Request an Ultimatum

Above all, make a respectful request after carefully laying out your case.  Be prepared in advance to be turned down, or at least to be told to wait for a discussion higher up the chain.  If you have truly been working hard, improving, and have been a pleasure to work with, then your request may be a surprise in a positive way; your employer will most likely want to make sure they keep you on board, so they will set the wheels in motion to ensure they remain competitive.  

For more of the do’s and don’ts of asking for a raise, check out this article.

If, however, they don’t give you an indication of willingness to increase your pay, let them know you always like to improve and see if they have any suggestions for you.  This could be an eye-opening experience that changes the path of your career and sets you up for future success, so accept any criticism with gratitude, seeing it as an opportunity to improve your life and show your employer you are willing to grow as an individual.  Getting turned down for a raise doesn’t have to mean you need to come to work angry and start looking for another job, it simply means your expectations did not match your employer’s expectations.  If this situation can be resolved, it’s to your benefit to step up and send a message to your boss that you have what it takes to overcome challenges and become a leader in your own right.

If, even after all that, you find that you are not moving forward at your company year after year, it could be time to consider a change, but always balance that need carefully with your own professional development:

  • Do I need more training before I make the switch?
  • Do I have spotty job history on my resume already?
  • Do I have a safety net in case I don’t find work right away?
  • Are there people here who hold me in high enough regard to provide a good reference?

Not sure if it’s time for a total career change?  Check out this career questionnaire:

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/nov/11/-sp-questionnaire-what-job-would-make-you-happiest

Remember: we either set ourselves up for success or for failure.  Every day when you get out of bed, you are faced with a thousand choices throughout your day.  When you display effort instead of avoidance, understanding instead of defensiveness, and power through your daily tasks instead of looking for an easier way out, you elevate your status as a leader.  You, Your success, and Your happiness matter too much to let a rash decision hamper your future.

Barracuda Staffing, Inc. cares about your success: check back next week for more tips on increasing your satisfaction in the workplace, and remember that one of the best things to have on your resume is Job Stability; however, if you are looking for a new place to spread your wings and grow into a leader in your department, we invite you to browse our current openings in Tulsa and surrounding areas, call to talk to a Recruiter, or simply Submit your resume online today!


Want more helpful career tips? We post every Monday!

When you come to work for Barracuda Staffing, we don’t just give you a job, we give you the support you need to succeed.  Before you even start, we provide you with helpful resources like our Interview GuideFAQS, and even video tips to help you land the job you’ve been hoping for.  Once you are placed with an employer, we provide you with additional resources to help you make the most of your new position, including a monthly informative newsletter, a weekly blog to assist with things like Conflict Resolution and Leadership skills, training resources, and even inspirational quotes on our social media platforms.

Whether you are just starting your job search, or you need to start tomorrowApply Now and let us help you find your new job!

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Getting Along with Coworkers - Barracuda Staffing

When we hire a new employee, we want them to be excited to be here, ready to hit the ground running, and dedicated to doing the best job possible. Many people at many companies start off at a new job feeling ready to do exactly that, and then either quickly or gradually, different feelings begin to set in; complacency, de-motivation, and even outright dissatisfaction. These feelings can lead to negativity in the workplace which can spill over onto other employees and even lead to departures.

A common excuse for both employees and employers alike is to correlate these feelings of dissatisfaction with pay rates, but in reality, there is so much more happening underneath the surface. We also tend to blame the people who leave, fooling ourselves into imagining the problems will leave with them, rather than taking an honest look inside of our own behavior or company status quo to find the root causes and then truly change the game. Several major studies explore the reason good employees leave, and the bottom line is that it all too often comes down to irreconcilable relationships between employees and/or bosses; specifically, something that is sometimes identified as “The Drama Triangle”.

Like every company, Barracuda struggled with the same cycle of turnover and dissatisfaction, until we chose to focus on leadership and empowerment at all levels of the organization. Every week, our entire team spends time together focusing on communication, conflict resolution, and personal development skills, and it has had a dramatic effect on every aspect of our business. We attend seminars, luncheons, and we even have a policy that the company will buy any book recommended on leadership or personal development to share with the rest of the team. We do this to improve our level of service to others and our relationships, both at work and at home, which translate to greater personal satisfaction in our day-to-day lives.

Whether you are an employee or a manager, there are plenty of resources at your fingertips to help you manage conflict in your life. The beauty of the principle I’m about to share with you is that it doesn’t require anyone else’s participation; this is something you can quietly learn more about on your own, without expecting participation from anyone else in your life, yet it can dramatically change the course of events in any situation.

Identifying The Drama Triangle

We were introduced to a book called The Empowerment Dynamic™, by David Emerald, at a recent luncheon: in his book he explores something called “The Drama Triangle”, a concept originally put forth by psychologist Stephen Karpman. Karpman believed that when people are involved in any conflict, they take on one of three roles; the Victim, the Rescuer, or the Persecutor. A single person can shift tactics/roles in the course of a conflict, for example, a supervisor going from angry Persecutor to hounded Victim once the anger backfires, a deadline is missed, and others start Persecuting the supervisor instead.

The first challenge is to identify when a Drama Triangle is happening between you and another member of your organization or group, then name the role(s) that you tend to adopt as well as the roles of other people involved. The next step is to learn to diffuse the behavior simply by changing your own response to the situation (as opposed to expecting others to modify their behavior), and this is the concept of “The Empowerment Dynamic™” that David Emerald presents in his book (also called “TED™”. When the Victim becomes the Creator, the Persecutor becomes the Challenger, and the Rescuer becomes the Coach, everyone becomes more empowered and your team becomes stronger.

David Emerald has provided a brief introductory video to these principles on YouTube here.

“FISBE” – Making the Shift Happen

According to Emerald, the way to make this shift is to Focus, explore your Inner State, and then examine your Behavior in a manner that creates a “Virtuous Cycle” instead of a vicious one (Emerald calls this method “FISBE”). In this manner, the Victim shifts from reacting to events to choosing a particular outcome (Creator) by asking “What do I really Want?” This shifts their perspective from focusing on what they DON’T want to focusing on the desired outcome instead. If you tend to focus on a perpetual state of not having enough money, or frustration at living paycheck to paycheck, for example, you are pouring your energy into a stressful reaction to events. If you think about the desired outcome, that you want to make $3 more per hour by December of next year (it helps to be specific whenever possible), then the next logical step is to say, “how will I get there?” instead of “I can never seem to pay my bills”. Because you shifted your focus, your inner state can shift from one of frustration to determination as you contemplate how you need to change your behavior to create a new and positive outcome. When you shift to a Creator viewpoint, you begin to look at what might be possible instead of allowing hopelessness to keep you boxed in. Even if you don’t know the answer right away, the very fact that you begin focusing on the desired outcome instead of what you don’t want causes a subtle change to happen.

The Persecutor shifts from tearing people down to building people up (Challenger) by asking “What is my real intention?”. If you feel superior to others because you feel know how to do something better and you want to make sure someone else knows they know they messed up, you may be acting as a Persecutor, and it’s important to stop and ask yourself, what is your real intention? It is likely your real intention is to instruct someone in some way so they perform a specific task more efficiently in the future instead of doing it incorrectly/inharmoniously. That being the case, once you focus on the primary goal instead of giving in to the need to feel superior or needing to be “right” while framing someone else as being “wrong”, you may realize that if you improved your method of communicating, Focusing on the goal with a calm Inner State, your behavior can shift toward that of persecuting to that of a teacher, or one who challenges people to rise instead of expecting them to fall (and then saying “I told you so”).

Finally, the Rescuer shifts from fixing it for you to asking questions that inspire (Coach) by wondering “How am I seeing the other person?”, i.e., “Am I seeing them as a Victim and reinforcing their helplessness by my own response, or am I seeing them as a fellow Creator and helping them solve their own problems?”. The rescuer often becomes the Victim or the martyr by taking on other people’s problems to the detriment of their own lives. Taking the time to perform this introspection and believing in other people’s abilities can have a profound impact, not just on a person’s professional life, but on their personal lives as well. This tweak in perspective can be the simple difference between saying “You don’t seem to be getting this, just let me do it” to “I know you can do better than this. Have you tried…or, what if you did this instead?”.

How Can We Stay Happy On the Job?

The most important change that results from adopting TED™ is an understanding that blaming the folks around us for our own disappointments in life ultimately won’t help us achieve our goals, and reinforces the concept that we are Victims whose lives are lived at the mercy of the decisions and behaviors of others around us. It isn’t until we step forward into the role of Creator, understanding that our behaviors and decisions led us down our present path, and if we don’t like that path, the power lies within us to change it. Then as we look out into the world, we begin to recognize that everyone around us is also a Creator, whether they realize it or not, and we can stop feeding energy into the Drama Triangle by responding to people and situations in a more constructive and beneficial manner to all involved.

Using the TED™ technique can help you either stop moving from job to job (or relationship to relationship), or stop high levels of turnover at your organization, because it gives you an alternative to the “go where the grass is greener” mindset that often lands us in exactly the same situations, just with new faces and new places. While there are indeed situations that may be physically dangerous or emotionally overwhelming that require us to remove ourselves from trouble, once we begin looking at life as Creators, we begin to see hope in what used to be “hopeless” situations, and we find that sometimes, even the worst of relationships can be salvaged by a change in behavior – our own!

Help is Everywhere!

These days, we are lucky to have so much information at our fingertips. From world class podcasts, online books, informative websites, audiobooks, online videos, and much more, we can draw a wealth of inspiration from the people around us. At Barracuda, we have many mentors in our day-to-day activities, and in the coming months we will freely share what we have found in the hopes it will benefit you or your organization as well.

If you want a chuckle or two to lighten the mood (until one of the scenarios strikes a nerve), you can check out Dr. Karpman’s webpage. He provides samples of his book, “A Game Free Life”, in which he identifies several common games people play with each other when they are operating within the Drama Triangle.

For More about TED™, or The Empowerment Dynamic™.

Barracuda Staffing, Inc. cares about your success: check back next week for more tips on increasing your satisfaction in the workplace, and remember that you have the power to bring more peace into your life today, right where you are now; however, if you are looking for a new place to spread your wings and grow into a leader, we invite you to browse our current openings in Tulsa and surrounding areas, call to talk to a Recruiter, or simply submit your resume online today!