Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

View Julie Christiansen's profile on LinkedInMerry Christmas to All!

I love this time of year because it is an opportunity to share in the joys of the season with those we love. It is also a time for me to reflect on the many blessings I have received and the lessons I have learned. Since my teenage years, I have always taken stock of my life right around the end of the year. Sometimes I didn't like what I saw when I looked back on my year - there were times when I realized that I had allowed other people to dictate my personality and my behaviour, and there were times that I was truly disappointed in myself. BUT - there were other times - that occured more frequently that I looked back and wondered, "How did I ever manage to accomplish that?"

This year I finally completed a task that I set out to accomplish in the fall of 2008 - that is the completion of my Masters Degree. I only wish my Mom could have been here to celebrate with me, but I know she was with me, encouraging me every step of the way. Now that my schooling (at least this stage of it) is finished, I am looking forward to new projects: research, more books, new program development, teaching, and of course, speaking engagements. Lets not forget too - the value of spending time with family and taking time for faith.

Since first going through the process of reflection and goal setting for the year to come, I have become more focused, more confident, and more determined to be the person that I believe God created me to be. My challenge to you this holiday season is to engage in a process of reflection and renewal for yourself. Take a look at what you have accomplished and how you have exceeded your own expectations. Then look ahead and begin to plan today for the life you want to create tomorrow. It was Henry Ford who said, "Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right." What will you choose to be right about in this coming year?

From the depths of my heart, I would like to wish all my family, friends, colleagues, and partners the very best this Christmas, and may all the joy of the season be yours.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Anger Solutions in Action: E+R=O, A true story of LIFE SAVING change!

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One of my coaching clients recently shared this story with me – and it clearly demonstrates the power of the equation made famous by Jack Canfield:

E+R=O (Event + Response = Outcome).

Several years ago, my client was vacationing with friends and they decided to go cave diving. Now – this is an activity that is not for the weak-minded or the claustrophobic. They were in full scuba gear, under water (of course) AND under ground. Imagine swimming in the dark, surrounded by water and rock. The four men were navigating a tunnel and my client was bringing up the rear. As he was maneuvering through the tunnel, he got stuck on a stalactite that impeded his movement.

I want you to think about what this must have felt like in that moment. It is cold and dark. Your friends have gone ahead and have no idea that you have been left behind or that there is any kind of trouble. You’re stuck in a tight space with limited mobility of your arms, and on top of that, you are underwater. You have no method of communication, and a limited supply of air. What would you do?

Finding himself trapped in this literal hole, my client realized that he had three options:
1. Panic – and die
2. Do nothing – and die
3. Calm down, find a way to get free, and live.

Which option do you think he chose?
When the panic died down and he had evaluated the situation more rationally, he was able to focus on the problem at hand. If there was a way he had become stuck, then by undoing that motion, he could get unstuck. That is exactly what he did. Using small, controlled, subtle movements, he was able to free his gear from the obstruction, and by changing his positioning as carefully as he could, he was able to clear the tunnel – living to tell the tale.

What do you do when faced with stressful situations? Do you panic? Do you shut down? Either of these responses will result in death – perhaps not literal death, but the death of the dream, goal, objective, or purpose that you were pursuing up until the point of crisis.

There is an inherent lesson in my client’s story. The Event was that he found himself stuck. This was his crisis point. If Events alone determined our outcomes, I wouldn’t be telling you this story today. My client would have died in that cave, and I never would have met him. What determined his outcome was his response.

It is important to note too, that he could not change anything about the event itself. He could not somehow magically drain the water out of the cave. He could not move the rock wall to make the space wider for him to get through. The only thing he could change or control was HIMSELF.

This is true for you as well. When you are faced with crisis (financial, mental, physical, or relational) your response will decide how things work out for you. If you panic in the face of challenges – your outcome will be very different than if you rationally seek solutions to your problems. When you find yourself “stuck” in an impossible situation, remember: you have three options. Panic – and die. Do nothing – and die. OR calm down, find a way to get free, and live.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Anger Solutions for High Stress Situations

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I'll tell you what, sometimes stress creeps up on you and other times it smacks you right in the face with a cast iron frying pan. The "creepy" stress is often recognized as "hassles", and some research indicates that the hassle factor is often what creates the feeling of cumulative stress in the body. Stress can also be induced by single events that have a significant meaning, and often come attached with intense emotional responses. What happens when these two intersections meet?

Two words: Shut Down.

How do you get back on your feet after being blindsided by both the daily hassles of life and a major "catastrophic event"?

Here are some steps that can help:

  1. Rest. When the stress response overloads the body, it can be a jarring shock to the system. The fight or flight response exists to serve you in the face of impending danger, and should only last for a few seconds - minutes at best. But when you are in a heightened state of extreme stress for hours or perhaps even days, the body has no time to recover and to return to its normal state. This creates an intense energy drain, causing muscle weakness, pain in the joints, headaches, elevated heart rate and blood pressure, increases in sugar and cholesterol production, shortness of breath, and a host of other physiological symptoms. The best way to help your parasympathetic nervous system to do its job is to rest your body so that it can settle all of these responses down and bring you back to baseline. Go to bed. Lay down on the couch. Relax on the porch. Rest.

  2. Drink lots of water and breathe deeply. Two things your body needs desperately in order to survive and thrive are water and oxygen. When you are in a heightened state of stress, the body is deprived of both. You must replenish these losses as quickly as possible or else you will continue to experience headaches, nausea, upset stomach, irritability, insomnia, confusion/short-attention, and breathing problems. So, always remember to hydrate and oxygenate!

  3. Exercise. Do this whatever way is comfortable for you, but if possible, get outdoors. A hike in the woods or walking along a waterway is incredibly calming and has a way of speeding the parasympathetic response into doing its job. Be sure to warm up and cool down, and to stretch those tired, achy muscles. It will do wonders.

  4. Meditate on what is good in your life. The longer you focus on what is stressing you out, the worse you will feel, and the longer you will stay in sympathetic response. Think on things that make you feel good, bring you joy, or that inspire your hope for the future. Focus on what is positive about these current stressors, and BREATHE. Breathe in hope and optimism - breathe out tension and fear. Let everything come back to its right balance.

Follow through on these simple steps and soon your body will stop reeling from the stress and will be back in fine form to face the challenges of the day once again.

For more tips like these on how to cope with stress, purchase a copy of my new book, When the Last Straw Falls: 30 Ways to Keep Stress From Breaking Your Back. $24.95 - available exclusively at

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Anger Solutions Boot Camp - Basic Training

Join me at Anger Solutions Boot Camp! On September 27, 2011 from 8:30am to 5:00pm at White Oaks Conference Resort and Spa in Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON. In participating in this basic training program you will learn methods to ensure positive and successful results. Please fill out the registration form above and send it with your cheque/money order or complete credit card information to:

Leverage U
73 Royal Manor Drive
St. Catharines, ON.
L2M 4L2

or fax to:


Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Author of Anger Solutions Releases New Book about Stress

View Julie Christiansen's profile on LinkedInAuthor, Speaker, and Coach, Julie Christiansen has released her new book, When the Last Straw Falls: 30 Ways to Keep Stress from Breaking Your Back. The book release party takes place May 12, 2011 at the St. Catharines Museum Interactive Room at the Welland Canal (Lock 3) in St. Catharines. Julie was recently interviewed by Hugh Reilly, Host of ThatChannel's Liquid Lunch and the book has also been featured on CTS Television's "Real Life".

When the Last Straw Falls is currently available EXCLUSIVELY at Trade Paperback, 190 pages, $24.95 CN.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Anger Solutions Training: May 2011 in Niagaraa

View Julie Christiansen's profile on LinkedInJoin me for Anger Solutions training this spring in beautiful Niagara-on-the-Lake. This three day intensive will provide you with everything you need to hit the ground running with your own successful Anger Solutions program in your agency. You can also maximize your agency's return on investment sooner: as a Certified Anger Solutions Trainer, you can train other staffs in your agency on how to facilitate the program. This means ensuring continuity of programming and staffing in spite of turnover, vacations, sick leaves, etc. This is better for your agency, and certainly better for your clients.

Call us toll-free at 1-866-754-6169 to register. We still have some spaces available.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Another case of anger management gone wrong

View Julie Christiansen's profile on LinkedInSo here's a story of a young man who was taking anger management classes for a domestic incident with his sister, and while learning how to manage his anger, punches his four-month pregnant girlfriend in the mouth, then kicks her in the stomach because she wouldn't watch tv or use her phone. Here's the link: So I read this, and I'm thinking... Seriously? He tried to kill her baby because she wouldn't watch tv? That does not sound like an "anger management" problem - this person sounds like someone with severe frustration intolerance, poor impulse control, and a need to control others in his environment (likely because he cannot control himself). Again, I plead with judges and district attorneys all over North America - please, please stop sending control junkies like this man to "anger management" thinking that it will make a difference! Their problem is not anger - it is their desire to control the people around them through the use of intimidation and violence. So please, do all of us who work in the area of anger a favour. Stop acting like anger management can "fix" people who don't even know they are broken. We don't fix people. We don't cure people. Anger, by the way, is not a disease and doesn't need curing. We can only teach people how to make better decisions when they are feeling angry. When people like Ruben Anthony beat on their so-called loved ones, it's not anger. It's abuse. Send them to programs that specifically address spousal or partner assault. How many more times does this have to happen before you get it? Stop giving out band aids for gunshot wounds. Stop it. Now.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Amy Bishop, Pierre Lebrun and Workplace Bullying

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Remember the case of Pierre Lebrun, the OC Transpo worker who murdered four co-workers and then killed himself in 1999? Pierre had been relentlessly ridiculed by co-workers because he had a stutter. He slapped one of the workers for harassing him, and then was reprimanded by management and forced to apologize. Lebrun was a victim of what is called Workplace Mobbing (or bullying that is perpetrated by a group of people as opposed to one person bullying or harassing another) ( M. Barzyk & E. Edmiston, personal communication, November 5, 2009). A paper presentation by Cassell (2010) about bullying in the academic world states that ":72% of workplace bullying incidences involved a harasser that was ranked higher than his or her victims (Zogby International, 2007 in Cassell, 2010). Bully OnLine reports that 20% of all calls and enquiries to their hotline have come from the education sector including universities. Another survey of employees in the academic workplace found that 40% of respondents acknowledged they were the targets of bullying. Bullying/mobbing behaviours include giving the silent treatment, eye rolling, witholding praise, feedback, or information, interrupting, excluding from conversations, or more overt behaviours including verbal/physical aggression or verbal/physical abuse. Bullying is described as psychological violence, and has been reported to contribute to stress, illness, depression, and thoughts of suicide (Chitale, 2008 in Cassell, 2010).

As the Amy Bishop case moves forward, it will be interesting to learn of how she was treated at the University of Alabama, as well as by other figures who factor into her strange life (brother, and the Harvard professor). I'm not saying that any of the victims are to blame, but I am interested to know if feelings of harassment, being bullied, or a past history of maltreatment or abuse contributed to her choices.


Cassell, M. (2010). Bullying in academe: Prevalent, significant, and incessant. 2010 IABR & ITLC Conference Proceedings. Retrieved February 19, 2010 from

Leverage U can help you to prevent workplace violence and ensure you are compliant with Ontario's Bill C-168. Call us at 1-866-754-6169 or visit our website at to find out more.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Building Resiliency - a Stress Management Strategy

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“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Building Resiliency

Have you ever been lost? I mean really lost – out in the middle of nowhere with no cell phone, no map, no GPS, and no service station or farm-house where you can stop and ask directions? Have you ever felt that sense of sheer panic and helplessness?

Imagine… the wave of nausea that hits you like a wall of bricks when you realize you have no idea where you are. You have no one with you, you can see no recognizable landmarks, and the more you try to find your way, the more you realize that you keep ending up in a place that looks exactly like where you were 2 hours ago. Can you feel it? The anxiety? The heart inside of you beating its way out of your chest – the sweat as it beads on your forehead – the tightening of your stomach as you sit at the crossroads, searching furtively from unmarked country road to unmarked country road, trying to figure out which way to turn?

That is what it is like to have no resiliency.

Resiliency. The ability to bounce back. The Psychology Foundation of Canada identifies four key components that together create resiliency:
1. Feeling like you belong – having a support system,
2. Being able to deal effectively with one’s emotions,
3. Having good problem-solving skills and feeling like you have control in your life, and
4. Having a positive, optimistic attitude.

Imagine again, that you are back in the above situation – desperately lost, in the middle of nowhere, wondering where to turn. Now imagine that someone you love, trust, and depend on is in the vehicle with you. S/he is bending over a map of the county, trying to figure out where you are. How does it feel now? Do you feel safer? Would you be able to manage your anxiety better? Now imagine that your friend or family member has a smart phone with a built in GPS. Even if there is no signal in this no-man’s land where you are now, you know that if you can get someplace where there is a signal, you can get your bearings. Does this help you to feel more reassured? Now, what if in your glove box, there was a compass, so that you could figure out what direction you were headed? Between the map and the compass, and the support of your friend, do you think you might have a better chance of finding your way? I dare say you might!

When you’re on your own, it’s like being without a compass, rudder, or sails out on the open sea. Cloud cover inhibits your ability to even navigate by the stars, and even if you could use the stars to find your way, you have no rudder whereby to steer your vessel. In order to build resiliency, you must have a support system – people you can trust to help you put things in perspective, to help you flex your optimism muscles and cope with the influx of emotions you might experience when under duress.

When the last straw is about to fall, resiliency – your ability to bounce back – will be the difference maker for your outcomes.

READ When the Last Straw Falls: 30 Ways to Keep Stress from Breaking Your Back by getting your own copy at Available EXCLUSIVELY from Leverage U.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Getting Past Your Past - A Review

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Enjoy this brief look at my latest seminar as guest speaker for Barbara Grumme's Love Your Life seminar. You can learn more about Barbara Grumme by visiting her site,

For more on Getting Past Your Past...

Friday, January 28, 2011

Does Anger Need Medical Management?

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Anger is now a Medical Issue?
Anger News in Review - November 11, 2007 on Google News: Road Rage has a New Name

There’s even a new name for people who can’t restrain their anger. Extreme attacks of rage are linked to a medical condition called intermittent explosive disorder (IED, which fittingly shares its initials with improvised explosive device), a condition characterised by a failure to resist aggressive impulses. Harvard and Chicago Universities, which carried out joint research on IED, claim 4% of Americans are affected by the condition, many of whom probably own guns.

There are physical signs you should look out for to prevent an attack of rage. Your mouth dries, your heart starts racing, your hands slick with sweat, your face flushes, you breathe faster and you clench muscles, especially in the jaw and fists. If you are aware of these signs, you will know to be wary. At this point, ask yourself: is your anger to do with the situation, or the result of preexisting stress? What action can I take and still be in control of the situation? Something as simple as taking 15 deep breaths in a row, each time exhaling for twice as long as you inhale, will start to relax muscles.
There's more but I think what we have here will suffice...
This article about road rage being lumped into the medical diagnosis of Intermittent Explosive Disorder seems to imply that rather than resolve anger, now all we have to do is medicate it. I’m not sure I like where this is heading. I believe that by categorizing a normal emotional response with a certain CHOICE of behaviours - and then giving it a medical diagnosis puts our society on an ever steepening (yes - I said steepening) slippery slope towards total lack of accountability for one's actions.

For example, all the symptoms described in the article as leading toward rage are part of the natural fight or flight physiological response to stress and anger. One might easily experience all of these symptoms – but choose to internalize their anger rather than externalize it. It seems misleading to imply that these physiological cues are sure fire indicators that you are heading for a bout of rage, when in fact the "rageful" behaviours are just as much a CHOICE as it is to keep one's feelings inside.

In fact, if one is aware of his/her physiological cues, and chooses to continues toward a rageful outburst, can that truly be defined as IED? Consider that IED is characterized by a swift buildup and explosion of anger, and a quick return to baseline – typically one does not have time to become aware of or to counteract the buildup – because of cognitive impairment such as developmental delay or acquired brain injury.

To say that road ragers have a medical condition is a huge cop out I think – and perpetuates the gross misconception that anger is a disease or a dis-order rather than something that was placed in the human emotional and psychological construct as part of our normal functioning. Think about the ramifications for making road rage and other types of outbursts a "medical" condition - what kind of havoc could this wreak on the streets when people come to believe that their chosen method of anger expression is a "sickness that couldn't be helped"?

Let me be clear about something: Anger in and of itself is not a sickness! Those of you who know me well have often heard me say this – it’s not contagious, and it’s not a disease. Anger is an emotion that is as natural as happiness, sadness, or fear. However, in my sometimes cynical mind, I suppose that since we can medicate sadness (with anti-depressants), and fear (with anti-anxiety drugs), it comes as no surprise that the push is on to find medications to quell the symptoms of anger too. If they ever come out with a treatment for happiness, I think that will be the day I might have to start looking for a saner planet on which to live.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Anger and Stress Strategy: Put the Past Behind You

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(excerpted from When the Last Straw Falls: 30 Ways to Keep Stress from Breaking Your Back – by Julie Christiansen, now available at

February 19th, 2008 marked the 1st anniversary of my mother’s passing. She died in her sleep, suddenly and unexpectedly in my home, and it was, as you might imagine, a very shocking, sad, and traumatic experience for our family.

Looking back at that time last year, I wonder how I managed to get through the shock of finding her, calling 911, notifying my father and my siblings, dealing with the coroner, the funeral home, taking care of my kids, and all the rest. It seems that my crisis training served me well, and I was able to go handle the extreme stress of that situation despite my grief.

Almost one year later, as I continued to deal with the ongoing fallout of losing my mom, I realized that other issues that had remained latent while she was alive were beginning to surface. And with those issues, came feelings of intense anxiety and panic that I had not experienced for decades.

As I battled with this rise in anxiety, I often found myself feeling as if I had lost my bearings and was flailing around frantically for something to hold on to. And I found that stability in the most unexpected places. Good friends. Faith. And in my office.

Let me explain that last one... several years ago I recorded the audio program, “Getting Past Your Past”. It occurred to me as I was rifling through my files, looking for something that would help me through this crisis, that perhaps if I expect people to listen to my advice that I should listen to it as well. So I grabbed the CDs and plugged them into my car, feeling a little sheepish and wondering if listening to my own recording made me a narcissist...

To my surprise, the woman on the CD sounded bright, confident, and sure of herself (not the same person who was listening at that moment)! She had some rather profound things to say, which were coincidentally strangely relevant to my current situation. I thought... “why not pay attention to her? She sounds like she might have something there...” I took it one step further on the advice of a good friend, and printed myself a workbook – and went through the exercises detailed in the “LET GO” section of the program.

As bizarre as that sounds, it was what I needed at the time. I was reminded that I need to forget my past, remembering only what it taught me. That I have much to be grateful for and that the events of my past have contributed to the person that I am today. That I am still that strong, confident, bright woman I heard on the CD, and that vulnerability is not the same as weakness.

Through the process I was reminded that strength is fluid, and often dependent on your circumstances and the resources you have available at the time that those difficult circumstances arise. I was reminded too of the resources that have helped me through other past trials, and that all I need to do is to rely on them rather than ignoring them – and my strength can be restored.

The whole concept of getting past one’s past is one that is so worthwhile in the quest for less stress. If you have read my book, Anger Solutions! Proven Strategies for Effectively Resolving Anger, you will recall the story of Everett Worthington, whose mother was murdered in her home by a group of teens who broke in while she slept. Dr. Worthington is now recognized as one of the pioneers in forgiveness research.

Another leader in the area of forgiveness research is Dr. Frederic Luskin, author of the book, Forgive for Good. One of the things I noted from Dr. Frederic Luskin’s work is that when you recall the events of the past that caused you hurt and pain, and you have not yet learned to forgive and let go, you will experience the hurt just as if it were happening for the first time. That is to say that the anxiety, stress, sadness, anger – and all the other negative emotions that may be associated with that event, create just as powerful a physiological response in the body as when it happened the first time. So each time you recall a hurtful event, you are inducing the stress/anger response at full strength in your body.

Both the research of Dr. Luskin and Dr. Worthington has scientifically proven that through forgiveness, you can boost your immune systems, have healthier platonic and intimate relationships, significantly reduce your stress, and effectively prolong your life expectancy. There are two mental/emotional tasks that I believe we must undertake if we are to begin the process of getting past the past.

Acknowledgement and Acceptance
Now, no one said that putting the past behind you would be an easy thing to accomplish; but it is not impossible. One of the most difficult things I have found to do is to acknowledge and accept what happened. It is human nature, I think, to want to dwell on events of the past; to ask why; to try to figure out the motivation of the person who hurt you; and to understand the feelings of pain, anxiety, anger, guilt, shame, etc. that accompany acknowledgement of the hurt. Certainly, acknowledging that you were hurt, wronged, betrayed is the first step in getting over what happened in your past. But acknowledgement alone will not help you move forward.

In my own process, I came to the realization that the more I tried to figure out why I had been hurt or wronged, the more anxious and hurt I felt. That is because I was spending too much time trying to answer questions that I cannot answer. It was not until I came to the point where I could say like an old client of mine, “It is what it is…” that I began to emerge from the fog of disillusionment and all-consuming pain.

By accepting that my past is what it is, and realizing that I cannot go back and change it, I can begin to focus on how I want to live my life in light of what happened before. Will I choose to forgive those who hurt me? Will I live the life of a victim, or will I seek to learn from the experience, and find ways to grow and increase my personal strength? Do I want to spend all my time looking backward and feeling helpless, or do I want to move forward with an attitude of optimism and expectancy for better things to come?

Let me ask you the same questions. Now that you have acknowledged your past, are you ready to accept it for what it is? Then, are you willing to do what it takes to move forward through forgiveness? Everett Worthington would never have become a pioneer in the field of forgiveness had he not chosen to forge ahead despite his pain. Because of his willingness to forgive and to learn from his traumatic past, humanity has a greater understanding of the value of forgiveness both for our emotional, mental, and physical health.

Who knows what great legacy you and I may create for future generations once we learn to leave the past where it belongs – in the past.

Want to know more about Getting Past the Past? Niagara Residents call 1-866-754-6169 to reserve your tickets to the Love Your Life Seminar Series at White Oaks Conference Resort and Spa, January 26, 2011 to hear Julie Christiansen speak on this topic. More information at Watch this clip: to hear more from Julie.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Anger Solutions at Work: How to Cope with a Bully Boss

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Anger Solutions at Work: How to Cope with a Bully Boss
Bullying at work is a form of workplace violence. By implementing sound strategies, and ensuring all employees are on the same page, employers and workers alike can reduce the risk and make work a safer place to be. In the province of Ontario it is the employer’s duty to provide a safe working environment. Failure to do so is punishable by law, and in severe cases could result in hefty fines and even jail time.
Knowing the law and your company’s internal policies is paramount to dealing with a bully boss. Ask questions. Visit websites that discuss labour law in Canada. Find out what protection exists for you and your co-workers within your company and in the legislation.
Make sure you document behaviours, dates, times, and witnesses, so that you have accurate information to report. Talk to your health and safety representative, union steward, or to the person who supervises your boss. Let’s face it, in a perfect world, the buck would stop there; however, the truth is that very often, complaints against bully bosses go unheard or unaddressed. It is also true, that others who privately say they will back you up, will often back out when the poop hits the fan, leaving you in the lurch without viable witnesses. Then, it is your word against the boss. (Again, this is why documentation is so valuable.)
Should you end up in a situation where you have tried all avenues and the boss is still allowed to continue with the offending behaviours, you may have to take matters into your own hands. Here are some suggestions that may prove helpful.
• Call the boss on his/her behaviour. If the bullying you are encountering comes across in the form of veiled threats, use negative inquiry. Example: “Are you saying that if I don’t improve on my performance that you are going to fire me?” By bringing the threat out into the open, the boss now has to own it, rather than hide behind it. Remember that manipulation only works as long as you don’t realize you’re being manipulated! Bring any such tactics out in the open, and don’t be surprised if the bully starts backpedaling big-time.
• Be clear about what behaviour is making you uncomfortable, and indicate what works for you. “When you talk to me that way in front of my co-workers, it makes me feel belittled and humiliated. I would really appreciate it if from now on you would share any criticisms in private.”
• Do your job to the best of your ability. If you are struggling, ask for help from the others on your team. If it comes down to the word of the boss against yours, your work will speak for itself. Better to have a solid performance record than a weak one.
• Take it to your union, the labour board, or a labour lawyer. Remember that allowing workplace bullying to continue unchecked is a criminally punishable offence under the law. You don’t have to take the abuse – the law is on your side.
• Start looking for another job. Unfortunately there are plenty of lousy bosses out there, but there are lots of great employers too. Before you get to the point at which you have lost every last shred of your self esteem, prime your resume, and get back in the job search saddle. No one says you have to put up with continued abuse from a workplace bully – especially if that bully has authority over you. Take control of your own destiny, and get out before it’s too late.
This article is excerpted from a free 4-page report “Coping with Workplace Violence”. To receive a copy of the report, contact Julie Christiansen by visiting her website:

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Can Your Team Survive?

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The process of elimination is everywhere in our cultural psyche these days. With elimination game shows (under the guise of “reality television”) proliferating our prime time entertainment, it is not implausible to think that the tactics we see displayed on the small screen might spill over into our thinking about workplace interactions. But can workplace teams survive the new “top dog” mentality?

In almost every elimination game show, the players must face and overcome a challenge. Sometimes, they are given the opportunity to work in teams, or to team up against other players; however, the understanding that only one player can win is never far from each player’s mind. So, although the teams may work together to win a challenge, the motivation to win is never ultimately for the good of the team; the team only functions because to do so fits the individual motivations and machinations of each player.

Look at this now from a workplace perspective. An organization exists to fulfill its mission. It hires individual people to work in teams that can work together to carry out certain tasks that fit the mission and vision of the organization. What would happen if each member of the team approached their duties with the “top dog” mindset – working with others on the surface, while making subtle attempts to undermine the credibility and the effectiveness of the other team members? What if team players worked like the elimination game players, holding clandestine meetings, forming alliances, and plotting to remove other players from the field for their own gain? Would the team survive? The more pressing question is: would the company survive?

The sad truth is that although history proves that backstabbing, water cooler talk, and inside alliances for the purposes of bringing about the demise of someone else’s career are not tactics that promote a healthy, thriving workplace, our current cultural climate promotes doing exactly that. Nonetheless, it is not too late to bring back the time-honoured principles of loyalty, moral commitments, integrity, and honesty to the team environment.

The words of Commander Spock come to mind when I think of teams: “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of one.” Taking the “survival of the fittest” mentality to work only undermines productivity, breeds negativity, and depletes the morale of the team – ultimately resulting in financial losses for the company. Working together in strong, productive teams is the only way for businesses to survive in today’s dog-eat-dog climate. That’s why with teams, “Together Everyone Achieves More.”

If you'd like to learn how to help your team survive and thrive in these challenging times, call Leverage U ( at 1-866-754-6169 to learn about our dynamic Workplace Survivor: Extreme Team Building program.