Kate Nasser on Relationships at Work podcast

Episode #3 – Addressing Negativity at Work

In episode three of Relationships at Work, I chat with Kate Nasser, author and People-Skills Coach, as we look at identifying negativity in the workplace and how to address it for ourselves and for our organization.

A few reasons Kate is awesome – founder/president of CAS, Inc and the People’s Skills Coach and she’s been doing it for three decades helping Fortune 500 leaders figure this stuff out. She’s an author and her book is called Leading Morale: The People Skills to Stop Negativity and Ignite Contributions. She has a a Masters in Organizational Psychology and a Bachelors in Mathematics, and runs a fantastic weekly Twitter Chat called #PeopleSkillsChat every Sunday 7am Pacific Standard Time.

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KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Defining negativity
  • Types of negativity
  • How negativity can show up at work
  • The impact negativity has on a culture and individually
  • How to address negativity
  • How to self-identify and address negativity in ourselves

“Negativity is seeing what’s wrong without also seeing what’s right.”

Kate Nasser

FULL TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEW

Russel Lolacher
Today, it’s all about Kate Nasser’s brain. We’re gonna be diving into negativity today. But first, I want to explain to you why Kate’s awesome. First out of the gate, she’s the founder, president of CBS Inc, and the people’s skills coach. That’s right, I put the in front of people’s skills coach, and she’s been doing it for three decades helping fortune 500 leaders figure this stuff out. She’s the author, she’s an author, her book is called leading morale, the people skills to stop negativity and ignite contributions. See the linkage there to the show we’re gonna talk about, she has a master’s in Organizational Psychology and a bachelor’s in mathematics. So she’s using both sides of her brain, I cannot admit to the same. She runs a fantastic weekly Twitter chat called people skills chat every Sunday at 7am. Pacific Standard Time, never know where people are when they’re listening to this. And I always love pulling a quote I find from my guests, and this one isn’t me close to home. Morale is not touchy feely stuff. Morale is about respecting everyone’s dignity and everything you say, and do that. Kate, welcome so much to the podcast.

Kate Nasser
Oh, thank you. So I’m so thrilled to be here. And of course, very excited to talk about this topic,

Russel Lolacher
oh, negativity. And I want to I want to get out of the gates here, right out of the right out of the gate out of the gates right out of the gate. Yep, this is going to start really well for me. How would you define negativity in the workplace?

Kate Nasser
My definition of negativity is seeing what’s wrong without also seeing what’s right.

Russel Lolacher
And that’s coming from a place of the person that’s being negative, correct?

Kate Nasser
Well, yes. I mean, the reason I came up with that definition, of course, I had to think about that, you know, as I was trying to put all my thoughts together for the book. And there’s a very interesting, it’s not a myth, but let’s just call it some sort of twisted thinking today, you may have run into it, you see it, you know, in workplaces, virtually, or in the buildings. And that, if you say, Oh, don’t be negative, they actually come back at you sometimes and say, Well, you know, there’s a lot of toxic positivity now. And what they mean by that is, people who were always on I like, like Sally sunshine, and everything is wonderful. And it drives other people who possibly tend more toward the negative. I’m not saying that they’re completely negative, but it drives them crazy. So what do they do? They push the negativity, but they’ve convinced themselves, that being negative and blunt and pessimistic, is the antidote to this toxic positivity. So as I’m hearing these two sides in a futile war, futile, not futile, as I say to myself, Well, wait a minute. Life is not either or there’s nothing, there’s nothing binary about life. It’s gray. It’s messy. It’s, it’s both. So I see, I see the negatives in life, but I also see the positives. So to me, you know, negativity is seeing the negative, without seeing the positive.

Russel Lolacher
It’s funny how you sort of want to dig into that, too, is how the person that’s not negative sees the negativity and also how the negative person sees themselves. You’ve got it very much, in a sense of their I like the word to use sort of an antidote. But also it’s a justification that they’re, they’re a truth Sayer or they’re, they’re the they’re going to shake things up, because they know what’s really going on there. They’re just keeping it real as it were.

Kate Nasser
That’s, that’s exactly my that’s exactly my point. But they’re claiming a space that they think it’s their space, that nobody else sees what’s really going on. It’s very rare, that things are 100% negative, that the truth that they believe the truth is that everything is negative, extremely rare. Think about it this way, you’ve still if you still have talented people that can produce you know, new ideas, new products, new services, solve problems, the talent alone is positive, even if the culture, the leadership, the attitudes may be smothering that at the moment. It’s rare that it’s all negative just I mean, there’s always that hope that those options that the possibilities those are all in the positive zone and they the people who really claim that negative space as in on the truth say are and this all stinks well. You have a right to your opinion, certainly But that doesn’t mean that’s the quote unquote, truth.

Russel Lolacher
So we talk about that truth bomb. Are there other types of negativity that people bring to work? Or is it just a matter of levels of negativity? Or the truth Sayers? Or is there just I just want to know if negativity negative is negative? Or are there different levels, or

Kate Nasser
There’s always different levels, there’s always different levels. I mean, for example, negativity can show up in a lot of different ways. It can show up as the old no news is good news. Which Good luck with that when leaders if you think you’re going to lead that way now, because the younger generations, and I admit to being older, the younger generations, they don’t, they didn’t, they weren’t raised that way. They don’t think that way. They want. They want appreciation, they want recognition. They want inspiration, they want hope. And I know I’m making a generalization, there could be some within the younger generations that are, you know, forget this, this is all negative. But if you you know, when you’re leaving, you’re trying to get a snapshot, you know, of how things are progressing over your entire career as a leader, right? And, and the generations have changed the pulse, the aura, the vibe of workplaces, whether it’s virtual or in a building. Negativity can also show up as arrogance. The supremacy of logic, you know, I’m logical, you’re emotional. Well, wait a minute. I have logic, I have IQ. I have emotional intelligence, you know what I’m saying? So it could show up as chronic fault finding the leader, the manager, or even the teammate who’s always pointing out somebody’s faults or somebody mistakes, but they rarely talk about someone’s talents, possibilities, skills. That’s negativity.

Russel Lolacher
Do you? Do you find that it tends to show up more in, say, Boomers and Gen X, when it comes to negativity, more so than say, as you’re pointing out the millennials or iGen?

Kate Nasser
Very, very, very interesting question, Russel, because I don’t label all of our we. I’m a boomer, I admit to it. I think what happened is that when you look at the and we’ve I’ve talked about this, even with my with my mom, she was born in 19, in the mid 30s. And so she sort of was aware enough during World War Two. And they call them the silent generation, right. But their whole life was about sacrifice, hard work. The idea of personal recognition and appreciation and going off and living, while life didn’t even enter a lot of their minds. So they grow up, go into the workforce, some become managers, leaders, whatever, over time, most of them that were in the workforce at that point, were, you know, were men, but nonetheless. And so what they brought, it wasn’t as if I want to be negative, what they did was translate this hard work sacrifice mentality into, they offered it to this, you know, the, let’s say, the Gen X, or the millennials as time went on, right, but the younger generations, that they hadn’t lived that. So they looked at that as negative, you see what I mean? It wasn’t as if any generation grew up negative, they grew up in harder times, with the idea of, you know, put your nose to the grindstone, be happy, you have a job, you know, guys came home from World War Two. And thankfully, they had a GI Bill to help them get jobs, but you know, they were gone for what, five years or whatever. And suddenly, some of them needed training, there was a big struggle, I think people have a idealized image of what it was like, you know, for them to come home from World War Two. And then of course, ones coming home from Vietnam. So the there was all of this kind of mentality that they get jobs, they might rise up to be managers or leaders, and they lead with, with what they knew. A lot of people never had leadership or management training. So that’s why the whole you know, here without the the millennial saying, wait a minute, you’ll never you’ll never thank me for doing a good job. And if I was a boomer manager that had been, you know, mentored by a post world war two leader, sure. They look at the millennials. What do you mean thank you for doing a good job. You’re being paid. You’re lucky to have a job If you’re lucky to have a job, they’re lucky to be working here. But what they didn’t understand was that that’s not life now, right?

Russel Lolacher
Different world views by far and based on..

Kate Nasser
Very, very different world views. So now, among any generation, you can have the people who see life from the negative from the pessimistic side. And I don’t know if we’ll ever find out, is there something? Is there brain chemistry involved in that? I do not know, I find it a fascinating topic. But I’m not gonna make claims because I do not know.

Russel Lolacher
We’re talking negativity and how you sort of touched on it? How can it show up at work, especially now that we live in a world of either working in the office or working virtually, is there a different ways in which examples of negativity can show up in either world.

Kate Nasser
It can show up as passive, aggressive behavior, trying to get even with people trying to undermine their work, it can show up as aggressive, you know, yelling, shouting, I mean, I remember one client, there was a major upheaval, the leader of the IT organization was, you know, either left for whatever reason, and they brought in this guy, and he was, I mean, he was just plain, brutal, verbally brutal, he was abusive he was. And I wasn’t there at that. At that time, I had already done a lot of work, and then, you know, moved on to another client. But then the people were calling me up and telling me, and then you wonder, okay, why are they why was he left there for so long, finally, they got rid of them. It can also show up as pouncing on mistakes and using it as an opportunity to, instead of giving constructive criticism, it ends up coming across as contempt. And there’s a big difference between criticism of someone’s, you know, really big file up, versus contempt for who they are as a person. So there’s, like you said, is negativity? LightSwitch? Is it? Yes or No, no, there’s a huge range of it. But I think the most important thing that I gathered when I was doing some research and you know, talking to my clients, and everything was that there’s nothing wrong with pointing out like, if let’s say, there’s a project, right, you’re working on a project of some sort. And you see that something’s on though on the whiteboard, or something’s on the Zoom screen or whatever, PowerPoint, and you think that’s going to cause trouble, that’s going to cause a problem. That’s not negativity. If what you’re saying is, look, if we do that, it’s going to cause this problem. But if we take this approach, it could, you know, prevent that problem and even give us these three benefits. So I’m going to ask you, Russell, how did the first one, how did that sound? Did it sound negative? Or did it sound constructive?

Russel Lolacher
Yeah, and I think it really depends on the approach and the place from where it’s coming from. So I love the idea that you’re saying that it’s, it’s constructive? Because I’m pointing out something I’m trying to help you by being constructive. It’s, it’s funny, because most negative people will think they’re being constructive. Yeah, but they’re not. But they’re not because it’s coming from a place of, as you said, before attacking or ridicule or trying to elevate themselves by putting others down. That’s it. The first I want to talk about is the ripples that someone in the workplace can have being a negative person. Yeah, both short term and long term, people don’t realize that, that kind of activity, those kinds of actions, those kinds of words, can have a lot of impact on that workplace culture, especially from personal level. So we’re in your research, how can it hurt employee engagement? Sure.

Kate Nasser
So of course, there’s the whole personal, how does it hurt me as an individual, it can leave scars, it can, in some cases, have forced people to leave that company. In my case, back in the workforce, I worked for three companies before I left to start my own business. And the first one, and you can ask me the horrible things that happened there because later I don’t want to divert from your current question. But by the time I got to my third company, and the third company I worked for was a very large, well known, respected, you know, pharmaceutical company. I was thrilled to get in there and get a job in there and so forth. But I even left that one. And the reason I left was because I could see after this is my third company, this is an excellent company, but the cultures now this was many years ago, this was in the 80s. Of course, that that the cultures everywhere were just not hopeful and positive enough for me and I don’t mean it in that toxic person. Activity cuz I, I’m not a, you know, smiley girl all the time kind of person you’re not painting it on got it. But I’m I’m very hopeful forward driving, let’s see what’s possible let’s see what’s wrong, let’s fix it you know, let’s get things done kind of person and I knew that I wasn’t going to have that real I mean like, I just thought you’re never going to find this case in in corporate America, why don’t you think about you know starting your own business? So I think that’s a sign. So how can it ripple so can have personal scars, it can cause turnover, certainly. But I think, and we always think about that, right? You treat people like crap do much, they’ll eventually leave. And every business person any business owner, every business leader knows this. Some ignore it, some take it to heart and use it to change the vibe and the culture.

Russel Lolacher
Well, it’s funny that you point out that you worked at three agencies or three organizations, and created the larger brush of going, No, corporate America is all like this. Yeah, I mean, regardless of the fact that that’s true or not true, but that is your default, because that’s your experience. From a personal standpoint, it’s, it’s you take it so personally, that it must all be like this, that you literally got out of the nine to five, because you thought everywhere was gonna be like this, you lost hope that there was a possibility that there was an organization that was more hopeful, more happy. And that’s yeah, that’s an I’m sure that’s common. And that’s it sad that that’s what it is.

Kate Nasser
It is, it is sad. I also, I went to a career counselor, actually a private one, not at the company I was working for, but I friend of mine said, you know, because I was always like, when this actually is pertinent to the discussion, you know, I’d come home from work. And even on the weekends, I was always complaining, I was always upset about work. So it can infiltrate your personal life. Reach out to a good career counselor, they are incredibly helpful. And sometimes you have to take your own happiness into your own hands and overcome the negativity. I was not a negative, overall negative person, but I was sounding negative. And this relates back to your How can it show up question, you know, what, what ripples does it have? But back in the organization, part of it? What ripples doesn’t have the big one that I think sometimes leaders and managers don’t think of as the first thought is avoidance. You know, projects today are there’s always collaboration, right? Teamwork, I’ve got this piece, you’ve got that piece, whatever. But if someone that on that project team or permanent team is always negative, always, or maybe always making digs at me, you’re criticizing me, even as a teammate, no less a leader or a manager? I’m going to start avoiding that person, right. And if you’re working virtually you think, Oh, that’s great. Now I don’t have to see that person. But what happens is if people develop a distaste for someone who’s always negative, they may take longer to answer the emails. So performance results suffer big time, when negativity is allowed to take over the culture.

Russel Lolacher
People understand the the levels of stress and anxiety that can be triggered from dealing with negative people all the time. And that is, as we all know, what stress and anxiety can do to the body, which can certainly make it personal and certainly carry it home with you and affect your I know I’ve interacted with negative people that have really, I’ve sat on it like you get that one comment, you sit on for a week, you take it out on family members, and you take on, you know, in your life. But also, if you’re in an organization, and you see that negativity happening around you, and you look at it, and I use air quotes around leadership here, they’re not doing anything about it. That silence equals acceptance. So now you’ve got a culture that seems to say, You know what, without saying or doing anything, we’re basically telling everybody you know what, we’re okay with this negativity. We’re just fine with everybody being assholes. It’s, it’s not good for you as a as an employee going, well, if this is the kind of place that’s okay with bullies, and jerks, then why do I need to work here? And that’s sort of where it tips into toxicity. And that’s what I want to ask you is what is that tipping point from? Just negativity to pulling it almost to a toxic culture?

Kate Nasser
Oh, yeah. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly one moment, of course, because it’s different in different organizations, though, how much? If the I’ll tell you this much for sure if the majority of the people in in that let’s just say team, you know, are really live on the negative side, then most likely, that tipping point happens sooner and have a couple of people who really can’t take it. Leave. So, you know, okay, so that’s a positive they think that it’s a it’s a good thing, because now we just get to be who we are the super negative, but we don’t think we’re negative. We’re truth tellers, right? We were realists. The problem is that and it’s something that they don’t see is that as soon as some big change comes along, right, this team needs to change what they’re doing, or they need to do it in a different way. Or we’re going to reorg people. In other words, here comes change. Right? Now we say the only thing constant? Yep. Well, what happens is that these teams that are happy being toxically, negative, and there’s nobody left, you know, everybody’s left that was on the positive side, those teams that are left and happy when the change comes along. And they tend to be pessimists and resistant to change, they end up losing big time, they cause big changes come frequently from the top. And they don’t want to hear well, this is the way we do things. They hear that a couple of times, and the next thing you know, they just disband your group and start something new. So it has ripples all the way through even for the people who are thrilled, being negative. And if there’s a lot of them in the team and the positive lead and go get different jobs, etc. Now, we’re super happy, right? Because we’re, we’re all the same. But that’s, that is a recipe for someday you’re going down.

Russel Lolacher
We’ve definitely dipped our toe into the negative pool. How do we do something about this? So how do you like, and especially at different levels? Because when you address negativity in organization, is it different? An employee versus a co worker versus a C suite executive? Because negativity can come from anywhere in an organization? So how do you suggest people address that negativity in an organization? And certainly, if you can, if you can look at it differently from different levels, I’d be really curious.

Kate Nasser
So negativity is an attitude. And it’s a way of speaking, right? A way of behaving, a way of talking a way of doing things. And anytime you want to help change behaviour, you have to start within the sphere that you can that you have some influence around. So you gave a couple of couple of examples. Let’s start with a co-worker who’s very negative, right? Let’s say you and I were working together, and you are, you know, positive, more balanced. And maybe I’m the super negative one. What can you do? As we have to work together on things to bring some balance to the, to our interactions? First and foremost is to say, I say to me, for example, you’re the positive one on the super negative one, right? He would say to me, I hear what you’re saying. You think that in this case, that this will never work? I hear you. I, however, also see a couple of possibilities here. And you tell them what the possibilities are? And then say to them? What if we were to try this idea, as we tried to work through this project? What if we were to just at least try one of these ideas? Is it possible? Well, I don’t think it will work. Yeah, I know, I heard heard what you’re saying, but why not try it. And I will take risk. This is the this is the key and I will even take the responsibility. If this doesn’t work, and the manager comes around or whatever, I will stick my hand up in the air and I will say I own this one. It was my idea. Sorry, some negative people that are always in the negative, this can’t work. Nothing will ever work actually have a fear of being blamed when things fail? So negativity is their security blanket. It’s their safety zone because if you say nothing’s ever going to work, you’ve already declared that then nobody can blame you when it fails. Right?

Russel Lolacher
Does that approach happen at different levels? An organization, can it? Can you do that with an executive?

Kate Nasser
Well, it depends. It depends on you know, we’re talking about hierarchical organizations there aren’t you know, there’s a lot of companies now that are organized very differently. But I’m still talking about, you know, the companies that have hierarchy, you’ve got your executives, your, your director level leadership and down the line. So it’s rare that an employee would have a chance to say that to a C suite executive, you might not ever see a C suite. Sure. But if you what I can say is this, in the end, executives love results. So even if in the way they act, because they were mentored by some curmudgeon, you know, who was who doesn’t say anything positive. But if you can produce results, veiled take notice. So if you as a staff member person want to eventually influence a C suite executive, then you’ll have to work up the hierarchy. So you would have to show your manager or leader, your balanced positive can do get it done attitude. Because you are showing them Yes, I see I see the challenges, I see that we have three days to do something that should actually take two weeks. But what if we were to slice it into pieces, pick the most important thing that needs to be done, and see what we can do to facilitate and speed up getting there? I mean, I don’t, in other words, when you speak in a balanced approach, the negative people will still sound negative, they’ll still be spewing out now, no, no, no, no. But if you you know, I kid like The Little Engine That Could if you keep going forward, step by step by step. And you have the resilience to do that, in the face of all of this, you know, I always picture toxic negativity is like a giant haze, you know, like some kind of smog or in a traffic jam. And you have to be able to keep breathing, while all that toxic, dust is flying around you. But show produce results with positive speech with positive actions. And if enough people do it, if you have teammates that can also be that way and do that. It can actually become the culture. But in that moment, you’ve got to realize you’re creating, you’re trying to create this new culture from the bottom up. So don’t expect a lot of, you know, handshakes and appreciation and recognition at that point. Your appreciation and recognition, you would have to share among yourselves, look what we’re doing, look what we’re achieving. And hopefully your immediate manager, supervisor or leader, Team Leader, whatever. Well, we’ll be that way too. You see what I’m saying? But you have to be strong enough to want to. To do that. I’ve done it. I’ve worked in organizations, even as a consultant where I had to start from the bottom and show people look, I know, as a customer service department, you feel beaten down. And I found out one day because I watched the manager come out of the back office in a giant team meeting. She called everybody together. And instead of saying, Look, I know we’re having tough times, you know, but we’re doing some good things. Let’s talk about both. She came out and said, I know you keep saying we need more people. We don’t need more people, we need you to work harder. And I’m thinking Oh, my goodness. Game over. I just found the real problem.

Russel Lolacher
No kidding. And it’s funny you brought up revolving door as well. I find it interesting that some leadership again, the air quotes, where there will be a revolving door and they’ll be just like, oh, you know what, we’re training people to go somewhere else when you’re like, are you looking at why they’re all leaving? The leadership’s really good at coming up with excuses, obvious problems, and trying to put a positive PR spin on it going? Oh, no, we’re just we’re the launching pad for other careers. No, they’re running away from… like…

Kate Nasser
No, I love the way you said that.

Russel Lolacher
No, that’s that’s not this world that you live in. But your fantasy rose-colored Sesame Street glasses are lovely. Look at me break. You know,

Kate Nasser
Russel, the funniest part is when you said a training place for future companies or whatever. I’m not going to say the name of the company, of course, but we all said yeah, you know, when people say where to go to school, I tell them Well, I went to such and such college. And then and then I went to and then they we all said the name of the company and put the word college after it because it was such a revolving door. This place was like a, like a college for all these other companies who were, we’re hiring us in droves, because technically, we were very good, but we couldn’t stay.

Russel Lolacher
You’re learning what not to do and what kind of work environment you don’t want to be. And that’s what you’re learning. Exactly. What shouldn’t you do around negative people? They’re certainly, you know, you’ve shared your approach about how taking responsibility and and sort of nurturing people into a positive direction. Right. But what are a couple of things you shouldn’t do around negative people

Kate Nasser
Don’t play their record. In other words, I wouldn’t say to a negative person, well, let’s try it. What’s the worst that could happen? Because if you say, what’s the worst that could happen? You’re negative, negative person. I mean, you might as well you know, you’re gonna be there for a while. They’re gonna do what they say. Certainly, I don’t find that attacking back works. Now, if someone is being verbally abusive, because again, remember, you had said to me early on in this discussion is negativity. One thing and no, I mean, it’s a whole host of things. The only thing that I never, ever suffer, never tolerate is pure, true verbal abuse. I don’t ever tolerate that. And in those cases, I just say to them, if it’s if it’s a teammate, and they’re verbally abusing me, I’ll just simply say to them, Look, I show you basic respect, I expect the same in return. Just don’t anyone quiet and give them time to and they may fluster, and middle people, when they hear this kind of feedback, they, you know, expect a little bit more ruffle coming out of their mouths. But if you hold your ground, in the end, they realize, Oh, she’s not to be trifled with, she’s not gonna that’s not something she’s going to tolerate, then they come back around later, sometimes they’ll say, I’m sorry about that. I, I shouldn’t have used that word, blah, blah, blah. But I think overwhelmed with negative people is also don’t judge them. I mean, of course, today we sound you and I, as we’re having this discussion, it sounds like we’re judging, but actually, we’re trying to dig in and explore, you know, what, what, what this is all about. Negative people are no worse or better than I am or you are anything, they have a simply a different way. And people have differences. So I never judge negative people. The one that is the toughest for me, outside the verbal abuse thing, are people who are always what we call sad sacks. You know what I mean? They’re always complaining, they never, nothing’s ever good. They go on and on. And, you know, I get to the point where I feel like I’ve tried to push a truck up a hill without a motor, you know, I mean, it’s just too much. But instead of lashing out at them, you can just say to them, you know, I need a break right now. And I also have four or five things to do. Can we continue this conversation later? It doesn’t mean that later, they’re going to be more positive. Sometimes they are. But take a break. If you can’t handle it, don’t, don’t say to them look, you sad sack, all you ever do is complain and bring people down and I can’t stand you. Because now what you’re doing is where they live? Do you see what I mean? Don’t become them.

Russel Lolacher
And that leads me back to the first point that we had around compassion. Right? Because you don’t know what kind of day they’ve had you do not know what their life is like at home? Yeah, no, we’re coming to work and kind of poisoning the workplace. Well, there’s also a level of compassion, where you kind of have to understand you don’t know their world, you don’t know where they’re coming from generally. And exactly, and relationships at work. The name of the podcast is not only the relationships we have with others, but also about relationships we have with ourselves. So Amen to that. And so the last question I want to ask you, before we get into the, the, the two questions I ask every guest is, how can we identify in ourselves that we’re being negative? And and sort of address that? Is there any advice you’d have for that?

Kate Nasser
Yeah, absolutely. I get up in the morning, and I say to myself, How am I feeling today? And I really stopped for a minute and think about it. And I’m not talking, you know, just physically but you know, attitude wise. And I asked myself that for a bunch of days in a row. This was when I was so unhappy. You know, in my work before I started my own business, and I realized that every single day I woke up, I was already in a bad mood. It’s not hard to identify if you do a little bit of reflection. Also, if you have a a trusted friend or family member, and I say trusted, because you trust them to give you honest, objective vision of what they see in you, right? Without being blunt. Or like, well, you’re always negative, that that’s not what I need. If I’m going through some reflection, trying to assess, you know, am I negative more than positive? I need someone to say, well, lately, I see more negativity in you. But I know there’s positive in there because I know you. In other words, a trusted person can can give you balance. I had one of my sisters say to me, you’ve changed. I said, What do you mean? Well, you’re just not you anymore. Oh, my God. But she didn’t say it in a demeaning way. Do you see what I mean? Oh, absolutely. It came from a place of, wow, you know, because they knew me as really well. Really, really? Well, the friend was almost like a family member. So find a friend, a family member that you trust that can and say to them, you know, I’m, I’m gonna want some feedback. And I want it to be objective. Over the next week or two, you know, if there’s somebody that you’re, you know, around a lot, right, and, and just have them give you some feedback. It’s incredibly valuable. I’ve seen the time she said, you know, you’ve turned, you’re so upset all the time. Why don’t you, you know, go talk to this career counselor, it changed my life.

Russel Lolacher
I remember I was working well, back east and I was in… the job was fine. But nothing was like, I wasn’t feeling I had a support system. And I know it was affecting me, I was becoming a negative person based on my career wasn’t what I wanted to be the job was okay. But it wasn’t really what I wanted. And I felt it. But I wouldn’t admit it to myself, just because my self awareness muscle certainly wasn’t what it was what it is now. And I had an opportunity to go emcee a wedding. So I saw my mom for the first time after five months, and almost the first things out of her mouth. Where are you? Okay?

Kate Nasser
Moms are great.

Russel Lolacher
There’s some there’s something off with you, you’re not the same. And it’s just that, that sledgehammer to the heart to the face to the you know, we just sort of like somebody seeing me, and really seeing me that I trusted, and I would welcome her feedback. That’s another thing. It’s good to have people to have feedback, but you have to be open to receiving it too. I think that’s a perfect spot to leave negativity behind. Kate Nasser, I have a couple questions that I like to ask my guess. First question is what’s your best or worst? It could be either or employee experience that you’ve had, and the effects it had on you?

Kate Nasser
Well, I had, I actually have it was my very first company. Again, I don’t say the name.

Russel Lolacher
No. I’m going with worse than based on what you’ve said before. Yeah.

Kate Nasser
When I was first there, and when you first got hired into this place, because they had a lot of proprietary systems, you had to learn you were labeled a trainee. And even though you’re getting paid, and working, and working and working, and one day my direct manager, and we were back then we didn’t have our own terminal computers on our desks, we had a centralized bank of terminals in the center of the big place. And I was there working and he walks right up to me in front of everybody starts screaming and yelling at me. And he says, You’re, you’re just working to get things done. And he’s screaming at me in this very negative voice. And in my mind, I’m thinking, isn’t everybody working to get things done? I wanted to say that what the hell you talking about? But I was very upset. And in the early days, you know, women were never allowed to, to even show a tear at work because you’d be labeled as ineffective and that was like a death sentence to your career. So he’s screaming and yelling at me and I feel the tears welling up so I, I kept the tears behind me and I finally just looked at him and I said, What is it that you want me to do differently? What is it that I’m doing that you want me to stop and what is it that you want me to do? But it had a terrible? I mean, this was in the first couple of months of working there. And I thought, this is not going to end well. And the second one was maybe a year later, I was still there. And I went upstairs to talk to one of our clients, because we were the techie department. And we had to do systems for the, you know, the business people there. And this guy started to sexually harass me. And I’m thinking, I told you that I told you, why did you listen to yourself, I told you, this wasn’t good. But I came downstairs and I had a different boss by that. And I went in and told my boss and he poo pooed it, oh, well, he didn’t mean anything by it. And I, I looked at my boss, and he was sitting down his big, big wooden desk, I’m on the other side of it. And I took my fists, and I banged my fists on his desk, and I said to him, you address it, or I’m going to sue him, you and this company. And he went and talked with the guy, and the guy actually came and apologized to me. But between this negativity in terms of leaders, and managers would just come up and humiliate you and scream at you in front of everybody, the sexual harassment, the past, I mean, this place, I can’t use the word I want to use, but use your imagination to come up with a word for this place. Shitty. Yeah. And the effect that it had on Well, I was gonna think of something else. But I think, at this point,

Russel Lolacher
What is one simple action people can do right now, to improve their relationships at work, it could be about negativity, it doesn’t have to be though.

Kate Nasser
Assume the positive about somebody, when you begin to interact with them, and trust your mind and your intuition to signal you, if they don’t deserve that initial trust. I love that you will be able to handle it, a lot of people start out assuming the negative so that they feel prepared that they won’t get run over, they won’t be used by someone else. The problem is that it really, really limits relationships in even in your personal life. But we’re talking, of course, about work. So if you assume the positive, give them that initial trust, and then your listening skills, your bank of intuition, my book, intuition is just experience reapplied in a new situation. So, you know, trust your gut, I will tell you this, and you’re only going to know what if you try it, but it has changed my life. I assume the positive at the beginning. Because I trust myself, to be able to handle someone who has a nefarious intent. You know, who really their goal is to put me down to make themselves feel better? Well, if and when they start that I will address it. It changes your life, if you assume the positive, and then just trust yourself to see, okay, that person, not everybody, but that person did not deserve my initial positive trust.

Russel Lolacher
And that’s the thing with relationships at work, Kate is that those people skills that you use at work to build those strong relationships are just as applicable to your home life to customers to everything, relationships, relationships. So Kate, thank you for spending your time with us today. I learned a lot. There’s a bit of self reflection I have to do, I think based on some of your feedback, and how I think myself can approach and I hope our listeners as well will have just sort of take a look in the mirror a little bit. Maybe even if it’s a little bit of maybe it’s a tweak here or there. We all have bad days. But you know, it’s that relationship we have with ourselves as well. Thanks so much for your time, Kate.

Kate Nasser
Thank you and have a have a great week and maybe we can do this again sometime on another topic.

Russel Lolacher
Love to. If you want to hear more of the brainy stuff that comes out of Kate’s mind. You should go to her Twitter account at Kate Nasser Nasser spelled N-A-S-S-E-R and also her website katenasser.com.

 

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