Tag Archives: stress management

Management - Workplace

The Drama of Unintended Consequences

This is a story of killing with kindness. Well, there isn’t any actual murder involved, but you’ll see what I mean.

About 30 years ago, when I was the director of training for a large national bank, I had the privilege of working with a kind, conscientious, and hardworking teller trainer named Donna.

She ran a two week training course for 15-20 tellers at a time. At the end of each day, a quiz reinforced the day’s teachings. After the two weeks, there was a comprehensive test. If the trainees passed the quizzes and the test, they would go into the branches for a six-week probationary period. If all went well, they would then become full-fledged tellers.

It was the bank’s policy that if a probationary employee had a shortage or overage, they were immediately terminated. One of the branch managers called me and asked me, as director of training, why so many tellers were ill-equipped when they came to his branch. As we did an analysis, we started to notice that several would-be tellers had suffered this fate.

I discussed this quandary with Donna and asked her to pull the fired tellers’ tests and quizzes. I began to notice a common thread: lots of eraser marks and crossed-out answers on the ex-employees’ papers. It was then that I learned that kind-hearted Donna was helping the struggling students with their tests.

I explained to her that we had a system in place — the tests and quizzes — that worked. But because she was ‘helping’ the tellers, it wasn’t working. She had to stop. She agreed.

Fast-forward eight months: Tellers were still getting fired during the probationary period. One teller had just purchased a car that he now was going to have to return, and another failed teller was going to have to break a lease on her apartment. In both cases, the two would-be tellers simply didn’t have the needed math skills, a fact that should have been evident on the tests. It was clear that Donna had helped them, and I called her on it. “I just want everybody to succeed,” she lamented.

My response: “Wouldn’t it have been kinder to those people if they had known in the first week of training that it wasn’t going to work out?”

She burst into tears. “I blew it.” Donna resolved to stop changing test results for the tellers, and our probationary firings decreased dramatically.

No one can blame Donna for doing what she perceived to be kind and compassionate. But in reality, her actions were just the opposite. When we work with people, it’s important to ask ourselves: “What is my motivation? Am I really serving the best interests of the employee?”

What employer policies do you have in your workplace that help employees?

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Appreciation - Self Reflection

To Give Love and Be Loved

My great aunt will be 96 this month.
Her only child died last November.
He was in his seventies.My aunt is doing quite well.
She gets up every day.
She dresses herself.
She walks, or as my kids say, she scuffles.
She eats her meals in the senior center.
She gives. She listens. She loves.
She smiles at everyone who lives and works in the center.

She is alert.
She is vital.
She is not in denial.

When I am down, or overwhelmed or stressed,
or when I have a challenging decision to make,
I visit her.

I have asked her how she manages her losses.
She says managing stress is quite simple:

Life is not perfect.
Not everyone is kind, but everyone needs kindness.
Control what you can control (which is very little),
Let go of everything else.

Keep life’s routines. Get dressed. Exercise. Be spiritual.
Give love every day.
It always comes back.

When I teach stress management, I hear about alcoholism, abusive relationships, money worries, failed health, job problems.

I know my aunt is right–managing stress is simple.
Knowing, however, is different from doing.

May you live to be vibrant at 96,
To give love and be loved by those around you.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING.

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Uncategorized

With Age Comes the Gift of Loving those Younger

My Great Aunt Edith lived to be 96.

She died 7 years ago.

Aunt Edith

Until the very end, she got up every day.

She lived for more than a decade in senior housing.

She dressed herself.

She walked, or as my kids would say, she scuffled.

She gave, she listened, she loved.

 

She smiled at everyone who lived and worked in the center.

She didn’t enjoy everyone, but she showed compassion to everyone.

 

When I was down or overwhelmed, or stressed,

or when I have a challenging decision to make,

I think of her.

I once asked her how she manages her losses.

She said managing stress is quite simple:

Life is not perfect.

Not everyone is kind, but everyone needs kindness.

Control what you can control (which is very little),

Let go of everything else.

Keep life’s routines. Get dressed. Exercise. Be spiritual.

Give love every day.

It always comes back.

 

When I work in organizations, I hear about alcoholism, abusive relationships, money worries, failed health, job problems.

Knowing, however, is different from doing.  I know my aunt is right–managing stress is simple.

May you live to be vibrant at 96.

To give love and be loved by those around you.

 

 

 

 

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