As you’re human, it’s highly likely that in some situations at work you have played one of these roles a rescuer, persecutor or victim. This drama triangle was first described by Stephen Karpman in 1961 and is used in psychology to describe the three ‘roles’ that we play and can get stuck in.
When you’re aware of these behaviours and how toxic they are, it’ll enable you to rethink your mindset in your relationships and at work. Do you ever take on these roles? Does anyone at work try to manipulate you to play rescuer, persecutor or victim?
The Victim: “I’m rubbish I give up”, “Everyone else is better than me”, “Whatever I do, nothing changes”. The victim believes life happens to them and they’re powerless to change the circumstances. They refuse to get help, make decisions and feel hopeless and misunderstood. They blame the persecutor for bullying them and look for a rescuer to validate their feelings.
The Persecutor: “This is all your fault!”, “You can’t do anything right” The persecutor is critical and dominating and comes from a place of anger and resentment. They fear becoming a victim themselves but their criticism rarely solves problems. Sometimes the persecutor can be a situation rather than a person.
The Rescuer: “Let me help you”. They work hard to help and support other people, whilst neglecting their own needs which can lead to them being resentful. Helping others makes them feel better about themselves, but they are often overworked and trapped in martyr mode. Without someone to rescue they can feel guilty and so may keep the victim in a co-dependent relationship.
We can move between these roles within a single conversation or our relationships can become fixed to a particular dynamic in the triangle. The problem is when you’re stuck in a version of these roles you don’t see the bigger picture and your part in keeping the triangle going.
So how do I move out of the triangle?
The only way to “escape” the drama triangle is to function as an “adult” and not participate in the game.
– John Goulet, MFT, Breaking the Drama Triangle
If you recognise yourself as a victim in a situation, you need to take responsibility for yourself and initiate self-care rather than look for someone to rescue you.
For a persecutor, it’s all about recognising that this is the behaviour you’re showing and owning it. Even if it makes you feel better it isn’t helpful or fair.
If you’re a rescuer then remember you can be helpful and supportive without rescuing. Real helpers don’t need something in return and empower a victim rather than keeping them in a victim mindset.
If you’ve read my book Good Enough you’ll know from the first chapter that we are all born with innate self-worth. All babies are equal in value and worth and it’s only through our thoughts and experiences that we move away from it.
Self-worth is the foundation to confidence and is the measure of how you feel about yourself and your value in the world. As a result, even if you’re confident in your capabilities you may still feel you’re not good enough.
I give my clients some very simple exercises to start them on the journey of reconnecting with that self-worth. They are simple but powerful and I hope will remind you of why you are truly good enough.
List 10 things you like about yourself. They can be physical attributes, behaviours, qualities, talents, big or small
List 10 things you’ve achieved in the last 10 years. They can be big or small, around your career, education, social life, hobbies or family. Remember an achievement doesn’t mean you have had to have a real struggle in getting there.
Ask 3 work colleagues and 3 personal contacts to name your strengths. What others perceive are our strengths can be very surprising and empowering. Only ask for strengths and try to ask people you aren’t particularly close to.
If you’d like to make the journey to reconnect with your self-worth then you can buy my book here (or at Amazon or Waterstones). Alternatively, book a free call with me and I can share some more tips with you.
How often do you sit down to start a difficult task or research a boring project, only to find you can’t get going?
Do you get distracted away by emails, scrolling on social media or other less important tasks? I know I put off overwhelming or dull activities with a ‘just’ distraction. “I’ll just get another coffee first” or “I just need to have a chat with Simon before I begin”
Even when you are fully committed to completing an action the temptation of procrastinating and staying stuck can be too much.
Procrastination is the act of intentionally putting something off in a habitual way. Most of us procrastinate at some time but 20% of us are chronic procrastinators; which means putting things off has become a core behaviour.
There are 3 main types of procrastinator:
Arousal procrastinator (interesting name!) – these people like the rush of having to do something at the last-minute
Avoiders – who put off a task as they’re afraid of failure or even of success
Decisional procrastinators – who fear making a decision in case it’s the wrong one
Do you recognise yourself in one or all of these?
The triggers for procrastination are when we believe a task is:
Unstructured or ambiguous
Not valuable in itself
No personal meaning or benefit
What determines whether we procrastinate though, isn’t the task itself but how we feel about it. This comes from the belief we have about that situation.
For example; you may procrastinate about writing a report because it feels boring. But, if you dig deep to the beliefs behind this feeling what is actually going on? In the case of the report, it could be you’re actually feeling overwhelmed because you’re worried the report won’t be good enough.
Imagine you know you need to sort out your finances to understand your spending You could easily procrastinate on this and might believe it’s because it’s going to take a long time and you don’t want to start what you can’t finish. If you dig deeper for the real fear behind you putting it off, could it be you’re scared that the situation is worse than you thought?
By identifying the real fear behind procrastination you can then shift that belief to a more constructive motivator. For example, in the example with your finances, you could replace the old fear with the belief that doing your finances may take time but it’ll be worth it as you can start making changes sooner.
There are hundreds of techniques to overcome procrastination out there, but you need to clarify and shift the real fear behind it for them to work.
If procrastination is an issue for you and you’d like to hear more strategies to overcome it. Do book a free call with me at www.speakwithjo.com
Leading a team, whatever the size, can bring lots of challenges you’ve never had to deal with before. You may doubt your abilities to deal with them or lack the skills and knowledge to know what is the best approach.
From my experience working with hundreds of clients, here are some typical situations and suggestions on how you can react.
It’s also important to have the confidence to trust your intuition and to ask for help when it’s needed.
1. “I gave enough time and guidelines for my staff to prepare for the given tasks, but they still underperformed which lead to low work performance as a team.”
When talking about how to lead a successful team, ensuring your team have the guidance and time they need is an important starting point for delivery. However, have you also articulated what success looks like for them and been clear on what your expectations of delivery are?
A common mistake team leaders make is to assume their staff can see inside their head and understand the vision they’re trying to articulate. You can ensure that you’re all on the same page by asking them to clarify their understanding of what is needed as well as any barriers they believe might affect the success of the task.
Allowing your team to have some autonomy over the task is important. To help you feel comfortable that it’s on track you could agree on check-in points throughout the project to monitor their progress. By agreeing upfront these critical points it avoids your team feeling they are being micromanaged.
If despite all of this your team continues to underperform, hold a team review of the task. Explore the reasons for success not being achieved: what was within their control and what was outside of their influence? Creating a no-blame culture for this review is essential to enable team members to talk freely. Follow this up with individual performance reviews if appropriate.
2. “My staff don’t work up to my standards, therefore I have to take over and do extra work, this makes me have less time to do the work I am supposed to do.”
This sounds to me like classic perfectionist behaviour. The need to deliver unrealistically high standards and the fear of failing or being judged if you don’t.
Take an outsider’s view of your expectations. Is it really fair to expect that level of performance all of the time? Ask yourself what does a perfect standard look like and how would you describe failure? Now think about what achievement would be good enough. This is a realistic expectation which will allow the team to deliver and the opportunity to exceed.
By taking over the work to deliver a higher performance what message are you giving to your team? They are far less likely to put in the extra effort if you’re just going to add to it yourself. The result is they are demotivated, feel less confident in their abilities and you are stressed and overworked. Instead, challenge yourself to allow the work to stay as it is and be curious about the reaction. You could be surprised how little the extra 10% you add matters and think of all the spare time you’d have to focus on your own tasks.
3. “As a manager, I hope to maintain a good relationship with my team, but they got too comfortable and seems like they don’t listen to me anymore.
If your team isn’t listening to you then there is definitely a reason that you need to get to the bottom of. It could be they’ve lost respect for you, but it could also be that they’re unclear on what you want from them or they don’t think your ideas will work. You may feel that moving to a leadership style where you rely more on your management power or instil fear about the consequences of not listening is the answer, but it’s not.
First, you need to examine your own motivations and think about how to lead a successful team – is your need to have them respect you genuinely about what’s best for the team, or is it linked to your self-esteem and career goals? If it’s the latter then your team will know the difference and you’ll lose credibility. Secondly, ensure you’re listening too. Ask them whether there are any issues or concerns that they have and actively listen to their answers. Not only does it build your connection again but when individuals feel valued, they’re more likely to follow your lead.
4. “My mental health and daily life really got affected due to the overall performance as a team, and I am constantly worried about what my boss will think of my management skills.”
I suggest to clients that they spend some time thinking about what they’ve achieved in their career, their strengths and skills and any positive feedback they’ve had from colleagues and managers. This exercise takes the focus away from negative thinking and reminds you why you’ve achieved this management role. Having a development review with your manager is another way to take the power out of your worries and turn them into practical steps instead.
If you feel your mental health is still suffering then please don’t just ‘battle on through’ find someone to talk to about your concerns – don’t be afraid to share your worries.
5. “I tried to ask for more help from my boss, but he/she does not understand and refused to give extra support.”
An unsupportive boss makes work very frustrating and can have a detrimental effect on your career. If your boss isn’t understanding do you have a mentor, coach or someone in your network within the company that you can turn to?
Having a support network outside of your line manager is an essential element in a successful career. A boss who doesn’t support you is unlikely to advocate for you in senior meetings or suggest new opportunities for you to develop.
Ensure you take a look at yourself before deciding that your boss is totally at fault. Is there anything about your delivery or behaviours that could be affecting their opinion?
Finally, if all else fails it may be time to move area or organisation.
Want to learn more about how to build your self-confidence in the workplace? My new book ‘Good Enough’ helps women thrive, through courage, confidence and credibility.
When you think of a successful leader do you imagine an extrovert, gregarious and charismatic person? This stereotype of how a leader should behave is slowly starting to change. The quietly powerful leader is being recognised more, but the unconscious bias for ‘loud and proud’ leaders can be tricky to shift.
The implication of needing to be a charismatic leader is that if you are an introvert or have a reflective and quieter personality you can’t be as effective and many avoid taking leadership roles as a result.
But, think again. Your strengths of being a good listener, deep thinker and having a logical approach make you an ideal leader and organisations are at last starting to recognise it.
The phrase ‘quietly powerful leader’ was coined by Megumi Miki and there are many highly successful quiet leaders out there, for example; Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Marissa Mayer, Theresa May.
How can you be a seen as a successful quietly powerful leader?
Well, here are my 6 suggestions:
Collaboration – as a quiet leader you will listen more and ask incisive questions that empower your team to contribute their ideas and work together successfully
Proactivity – A Harvard research study found that extroverts excelled at leading passive teams (teams that follow orders). But, introverts were more effective at leading proactive teams where everyone contributes ideas
Leading for purpose – louder traditional leaders tend to be focused on leading to gain power and control. Whereas quieter and more reluctant leaders are more likely to lead for a purpose and to benefit all.
Find a passion – there may be situations where you need to be charismatic and loud. One of the key ways to develop a characteristic that isn’t part of your normal personality is to be focused on something you are passionate about. If you’re invested in the subject, project or people, you’re more likely to be able to act out of character.
Focus on actions – as a quiet leader you will put your effort into getting the actions delivered rather than a focus on words and telling people how to do things. Empowering your team with the autonomy to make their own decisions not only develops individuals but also develops loyalty
Staying cool – when the ‘loud and proud’ leader faces constructive criticism they may explode and damage relationships. Whereas a quiet leader tends to stay cool and internalise the feedback to analyse later
I’m not suggesting that a quiet leader is more effective than a charismatic one, but it’s time we recognised that there is a place for all leadership styles.
It’s no longer about ‘fake it till you make it’ but using your authentic leadership style effectively, whatever your approach is.
If you question your leadership abilities because you’re quiet and a deep thinker then let me share with you some strategies to feel confident in your own authentic style.
Are you frustrated that others get more recognition than you? That they are able to ‘talk a good game’ even if they’re not as competent as you?
It can feel really uncomfortable to start
selling yourself, promoting your achievements and
successes. When ALL you want to do is work
hard and deliver your job!
Do you worry that you’ll come across as
boastful or a bragger, because you’ve seen
colleagues behaving that way?
That can really trigger your self-doubts, so
you question your achievements.
Are they really that good? Would anyone else want
to hear about them? Did I really just get here
The problem is…If you aren’t visible and
you don’t self-promote, you’ll become resentful
at seeing others who are less competent get
the recognition or promotion you deserve.
I know how frustrating this can be,
because that happened to me many times.
I dismissed the need to be visible and sell my successes
as not important and too time-consuming. Instead,
I kept my focus and energy on delivering at a
high standard instead.
BUT, the harder I worked, the less visible I became.
I spent my time behind my desk and not on building
relationships or being ‘seen’.
I hid behind my desk and didn’t realise it was my
lack of confidence that was stopping me from
sharing my successes.
I worried that I would be judged as pushy or ‘full of myself’.
Or that I wasn’t good enough so I shouldn’t self-promote.
I could genuinely not understand why other people
got new opportunities when they were not up to it or
hadn’t delivered well in previous roles. I ended up feeling
resentful and negative about my career, blaming
others for colleague’s successes.
So I get it!
The reality is that in today’s workplace culture
doing a great job isn’t enough to get you the
recognition or career progression you want.
It’s not enough to deliver well and be liked or
to assume the important people know your work.
I talk to hundreds of women who don’t see
self-promotion as part of their job. But,
they are the ones who get stuck and feel like
their career is failing.
The Good News is…
There is a way to tell people about your
achievements that feel authentic and not braggy.
You can make it part of your day to day work, without
losing hours of precious time.
Then senior people and colleagues will recognise
your future potential and WANT to hear more about
what you are doing.
So, if you’re ready to be ‘seen’ for your abilities
and achievements. To share them in a genuine way.
Then I have 3 ways to help you:
1. Click the link below and book a call and
we can start to build a strategy to boost your visibility. www.speakwithjo.com
Today’s blog is all about how to work with colleagues who seem to be manipulative or obstructive but never actually confront you face to face.
This sort of behaviour is known as passive-aggressive. The person will appear to agree with you on the surface but you’ll pick up that they’re not happy. They may then cause you problems by undermining you with little comments or ignoring what you asked or side lining you.
If you have a colleague like that then you may be surprised at the best way to deal with them.
I once worked with a passive-aggressive colleague who never actually criticised or disagreed with me face to face. Instead she made life difficult and incredibly frustrating for me. She’d agree to actions in a meeting and not deliver on them. In front of senior managers she’d be very supportive, but away from them she’d not even give me a good morning.
What I found most annoying was the way she’d put in little digs at my ideas and achievements in front of others and never backed my suggestions.
I thought the best way to deal with it was to confront her, give examples and ask whether there was a problem. Instead of opening up a discussion she reacted by suggesting I was oversensitive and imagining it. That triggered my defensive anger and left me looking like the aggressive one, which isn’t a response I’d recommend!
People who behave in this way aren’t usually the toxic slackers we think they are. Usually their behaviour is coming from a fear of expressing their emotions and getting into conflict. There can also be an element of self-centredness, assuming others should know what they want. That their feelings are more important than yours.
How do I deal with this?
Rather than responding to a passive-aggressive person from the hurt and frustration you’re feeling. Think of them instead as someone who is suffering and unable to share their emotions constructively.
1. Listen to what they’re not saying rather than how they deliver it – what is their underlying opinion?
2. Do you have any role in the situation? Reflect on how your behaviour could be contributing, even if it’s just your emotions ‘leaking out’
3. Have a calm conversation with them, using your emotional intelligence and asking questions to uncover their concerns or issues. Ignore any toxic elements to their delivery and keep the focus on the content
4. Try to avoid having an emotional response to their comments, as not only is this not productive but it may feed their behaviours.
5. Join with them to find a solution or discuss a compromise. They may just want to be heard and be open to options
6. You don’t have the ability to change their behaviour that’s upto them, but if it becomes extreme then do ask for help
7. Maintaining good working relationships with you colleagues is very important to your happiness at work, but sometimes whatever you do, it’s not possible. In those situations make sure you protect yourself by getting support from other colleagues, recording any incidents and ensuring your work performance isn’t affected.
If you’d like to know how you can confidently deal with similar issues in your work then do book a free call with me at www.speakwithjo.com and I’ll share with you some successful strategies.
Achieving success in your career is a wonderful thing,
but not if you still continue to doubt yourself.
It’s the feeling that at any time you might be found out as
not being as good as they think you are.
Or being scared that you only achieved your
success out of luck or because you worked so hard.
Maybe someone else could do the job better?
Those feelings can make you anxious and stressed,
so, you spend time and energy on worrying
rather than being creative in your job.
Are you scared that others can see your self-doubt
and that they’re judging you?
What if they know that really you’re not that good, even if
they don’t say so?
The problem is…
No matter how much you achieve and how much
positive feedback or approval you get.
Unless you can quieten that Inner Critic behind your
Imposter Syndrome, you won’t feel good enough.
You’ll barely focus on your achievements and instead
overanalyse any negative feedback or criticism.
I know how anxious this can make you,
because I have felt like that.
Despite having a really successful corporate career
I would worry that the next piece of work I did wouldn’t
be good enough. That even though I had the job title and
the reward, I didn’t actually deserve it.
That drove me to work harder and to higher standards
BUT, the harder I worked, the less visible I became
and the more the self-doubts crept in.
I couldn’t understand how colleagues seemed so confident
and able to give opinions without knowing if they were right.
Or to challenge ideas without worrying that they’d got it wrong.
So I get it!
The reality is that in today’s workplace culture
doing a great job isn’t enough. You need to feel
confident and to demonstrate that confidence too.
While you’re in your head listening to your Imposter
Syndrome, that confidence is being knocked. Which
leads to anxiety and stress.
I talk to hundreds of incredible women who have enormous
potential. But, they are suffering with anxiety and stress or
holding themselves back in their career with self-doubt.
The Good News is…
You can shut up your inner critic and overcome your
feeling of being an imposter
You can build your self-belief and stop wasting time,
energy and emotion on battling yourself.
Then when senior people and colleagues recognise
your ability and potential you’ll agree and realise that
you are good enough.
So, if you’re ready to send your Imposter syndrome packing
and replace it with the freedom of self-belief.
Then click the link below to book a call with me and
we can create a plan to cure you of the imposter.
This week I’ve had the privilege of having meetings with 3 new clients, which I love doing. One of the common subjects that has come up is procrastination – the art of putting things off and wasting time on other less important tasks.
For some people it’s just a frustration that means they tend to leave everything to the last moment. For others though it has a serious affect on their productivity and ability to perform well at work.
Are there certain tasks that you always put off to the last minute?
Do you find yourself rushing to complete a job when you’d had lots of time initially and as a result it’s not your best work?
Does the battle to try and make yourself do the work cause you stress and anxiety?
There are a number of reasons that people procrastinate such as:
Lack of motivation
No tangible reward for completion
A non-specific or extended timescale
A fear of failure
Lacking confidence and self-esteem
The first step to overcoming procrastination is to identify what type of task it is that triggers it. It could be those jobs that are on a subject you’re not an expert in, or when you’re not clear what the expected output is.
Once you’ve identified the work you procrastinate on then you can work out the reason you are putting it off. Is it any of the suggestions above?
There are many strategies suggested to break the cycle of procrastination. One that I share with my clients is to set a timer for 15 minutes and give yourself permission to stop working on the task after that. If you want to continue afterwards that’s a bonus, if not repeat the 15 minutes at another time.
The great thing about this is it enables you to overcome the feeling of being overwhelmed or of no reward as you’re only doing 15 minutes.
Why not give it a go, who knows what you can achieve when you’re not procrastinating!
If you’d like to find out more strategies on how to overcome procrastination then book a call with me at www.speakwithjo.com and I’ll get you started.
In my experience of working with hundreds of clients the biggest fear many of them have is of being rejected or not fitting in.
It was a conversation I had with a new client this week that sparked the idea for a blog. She lacked confidence in meeting new people and doing small talk, which was affecting her ability to network and progress her career, as well as her social life.
Her fear was that she would have nothing to say, people wouldn’t find her interesting and would judge her as not being of value or ‘one of them’.
From the outside it’s easy to say that’s obviously not true. But when our thoughts are telling us this story of what will happen and the feeling that comes with them is so real, it’s very difficult to ignore what they say.
The fear then builds and you start avoiding situations where your worries could come true. Which is exactly what my new client is doing.
The starting point to develop the courage to overcome these fears is to recognise that they are almost certainly not true. Just because you’ve thought them, it doesn’t mean they’re coming from your inner guru and you must believe every word. They are a story your thoughts are telling you and you can ignore them.
As humans we are rubbish at accurately predicting how others will think and behave, so we create a scenario and that is often a negative one.
Another idea is to imagine that the worst has happened and you have been rejected/don’t fit in/judged as boring. What would you do then? Yes you could allow yourself to feel upset for a short time. Then you could start the process of growing and moving on. Imagine this happening now, how does it feel to carry on being you and not being pulled down by other peoples opinions.