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Mental Health

Trust Building At Work: Keep Promises And Respect



Anger Management


Akindotun Merino

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines promise as, “a declaration that one will do or refrain from doing something specified; or a legally binding declaration that gives the person to whom it is made a right to expect or to claim the performance or forbearance of a specified act.”

When promises are not kept, you communicate to the other person that they are not valued. It means that they are not priority and puts the recipient of this behavior in a self-protective state.

Making a promise and not keeping it is the fastest way to lose the trust of your employees. Sometimes things are beyond our control, and we cannot stay true to your word, but making a promise and not following through can have dire consequences on the relationships you are trying to build.

Getting organized is important to keeping promises to your staff. Do I have the time to commit to this? Do I have other resources? These are questions you should ask yourself before making a promise. Sometimes it’s easy to act in the moment and make a promise in order to make others happy without considering whether or not it’s even possible. Try not to act on impulse; think logically.

Here are some other questions to ask yourself:

  • Why am I agreeing to do this?
  • What outcome am I looking for?
  • Is this too lofty of a promise?
  • Is this absolutely necessary? Why or why not?
  • What would be the ramifications if I’m unable to keep this promise?

You’ve weighed the pros and cons of this promise, decided to go through with it, now you have to do it. The excitement of being the hero who said yes has worn off, now the real work begins. It can be tiring. What do you do? Well, since you made the promise and you do not have a legitimate reason not to follow through, you must push through your lack of motivation and make it happen.

Consider these tips in helping you stay motivated:

  • Remember why you are doing this.
  • Break down your task into smaller chunks.
  • Only focus on positive thoughts.
  • Don’t procrastinate.
  • Don’t be easily distracted by other things.
  • Visualize the outcome.

READ ALSO: Workplace Harassment

Do not over commit and under deliver. To overcommit and under deliver is worse than just saying no in the first place. Decide what you can handle and agree to only that. Don’t sign on to be an overachiever, since this will likely cause you to appear to be the complete opposite.

Saying you can do it all, but ending up not following through will establish you as:

  • Unreliable
  • Unskilled
  • Dishonest

Always err on the side of caution. Don’t take on more than you can handle.
Keeping track of what you must get done and how to get it done is what will lead you to the positive outcome you are looking for. How can you “keep track”?

  • Create a list of what needs to get done.
  • Break down the steps of how each task will get done.
  • Determine the deadlines for each task.
  • Get to work.
  • Evaluate your progress.
  • Determine whether any changes need to be made to the work you’ve done. If so, make them.
  • Deliver the final product.

Respecting others should go without saying, but unfortunately, sometimes people forget that respect should be afforded to everyone, not just the ones you get along with. Let’s take a look at some areas to keep in mind when thinking about respecting others.Everyone in the workplace makes up a body. What kind of body would it be if everyone was the “head” or “arms”? Even though not everyone holds the same position as you, all positions are important. It’s simple: Treat others the way you want them to treat you.

Here are some things you can do to ensure you are exhibiting respect for employees holding various positions:

  • Encourage others to share their ideas
  • Listen to their ideas
  • Utilize others’ ideas when appropriate
  • Don’t insult or demean others
  • Give credit where it is due

An opinion is one of those things that everyone has. One is not “more right” than another. Opinions are typically based on experiences, not on fact. Keep this in mind when working with employees who have an opinion that differs from yours. Your aim should not be to change their opinion, although sometimes having a discussion about differing opinions can be beneficial. Nor should your aim be to discredit someone because of their opinion. Regardless of what someone thinks of a particular issue, they have a right to feel that way, and should continue to be respected.

READ ALSO: Trust Building At Work: Empowering Staff

Time is a commodity that there never seems to be enough of. Knowing that, you should value all employees’ time. Whether you want to meet with an individual employee, or conduct training for a group, consider the fact that they have other work to do. So, use their time and yours wisely. Here are some ways to use time wisely:

  • If you can send an email rather than calling or having an in-person meeting, do so.
  • If your coworker is working on something that is time-sensitive or otherwise should not be interrupted, wait.
  • If you continually promise deliverables by a certain deadline, but do not deliver on time, change this.
  • If you are not prepared for meetings, make that a priority before going into your next one.
  • Set a time to start and end meetings. Stick to it.
  • No matter how great a job a person may do, do not volunteer someone else without consulting them first.

As previously mentioned, everyone serves a particular purpose in the workplace. As such, everyone brings with them a certain skill set. What may be a strength for one, may be an area for improvement for another, and vice versa. Pointing out another’s weakness is of no benefit. Instead, work to help your co-worker gain strength in their specified area of need. An organization is only as strong as its weakest link.

Dr. Akindotun Merino is a Professor of Psychology and a Mental Health Commissioner in California. She is the President of Jars Institute. Feel free to share your successes and challenges:

Prof. Akindotun Merino
Jars Education Group
Instagram: @drakinmerino: Twitter: @drakindotun


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Mental Health

To Be Loved Or Feared? (1)



Anger Management (5)

By Akindotun Merino
While many who enter into management and leadership roles want to be genuinely liked by the workers they supervise, seeking popularity for its own sake can be a dead-end path. Many have tried to lead while seeking popularity only to find that, indeed, they are loved but not respected. Becoming a more likeable boss however does not mean you have to sacrifice respect. However, being a likeable boss and a respected boss does mean you have to learn to be more effective. This manual helps you take the first steps on what will be a continuous journey towards becoming a more effective boss, the side effects of which are both likeability.

Is it Better to be Loved or Feared? This famous question comes down to us from Niccolo Machiavelli, a political theorist who lived in Italy during the Renaissance. He contended that a leader who is feared is preferable to a leader who is loved. However, he also lived during a time of great political instability where city governments changed in a flash, usually violently, and usually involving executions of the previous leadership. Since we no longer live in an age where stepping down from a leadership position or being removed would involve the loss of one’s head, do we really need to adopt the route that proved so disastrous for ruthless dictators?

READ ALSO: Mental Health Isn’t About Crazy People, It’s About All Of US – Akindotun Merino

The case for fear. An authoritarian approach to leadership is not all bad. Some people in leadership positions might still maintain that leaders who approach their employees with a sense of antagonism have fewer instances where employees take advantage of them. They can use “tough love” to “whip employees into shape.” Where supervisors who aim for popularity fail in setting boundaries for their employees, authoritarian leaders make those boundaries clear through well-defined consequences for crossing them. This approach to leadership seldom suffers from employees taking liberties or taking advantage of a perceived weakness from the supervisor.

The Case for Love. Well, that’s a case closed then, right? Make sure that you scare your employees, and they will treat you with respect and dare not cross you. If it were only so easy. While an authoritarian approach to leadership might give you the appearance of being respected, it’s not so likely that this respect would be genuine. Real respect must be earned, and involves respecting others. If you genuinely care about your employees, you may not have to work so hard getting them to do what needs to be done, uncovering instances where they were too afraid to approach you, or squashing conflicts with your employees that might tend to flare up when you approach your leadership role from an authoritarian standpoint. Perhaps being loved is not such a useless approach to effective leadership.

The case against either. The problem in leadership isn’t being more loved nor is it being feared more. Both have their upsides, but each also has its downside. Beloved leaders might be popular, but they might also be easily manipulated and put into unnecessary situations where it feels as if the inmates are running the asylum. Conversely, those who use fear as a leadership tactic frequently have to deal with such issues as insubordination or dishonesty from their employees. In addition, a work environment that is marked by fear turns into a poisonous place to work. Authoritarian leaders often experience higher rates of turnover from their employees. This means time that might otherwise be productively spent is now redirected towards training new employees. Any efficiency such a leader hoped to gain by cracking the whip has been lost when employees won’t stay for any length of time. There must be a middle way.

READ ALSO: Anger Management (13)

There is a middle ground. Since both leadership styles have both upsides and downsides, perhaps the best approach is to be a little bit of both. Like an authoritative leader, you want to have clear boundaries with clear consequences, but you do not want to create a fearful and poisonous work environment where everyone is trying to stab each other in the back and no one will tell you the truth, but whatever you want to hear.

In addition, a middle ground approach would mean that you do value your employees as people. You are genuinely interested in their lives. You understand that respect is a two-way street and must be earned. Yet, you impose clear boundaries. While you and your employees may be equal in both a personal and possibly even a professional sense, you have a different job than your employees. You face a different set of pressures. The key to understanding whether it is better to be loved or feared is considering the big picture and the long term, and in each situation, which approach would be more effective in the long run for that situation.

Dr. Akindotun Merino is a Professor of Psychology, CEO of Jars Group and Mental Health Commissioner in California. Feel free to share your successes and challenges:

Prof. Akindotun Merino
Instagram: @drakinmerino 

Twitter: @drakindotun


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Mental Health

Anger Management (13)



Anger Management (5)

By Akindotun Merino
Not all angry reactions can be effectively dealt with. Here are situations when it is more advisable to back away:

When you are too affected by an issue to view it objectively. De-escalating anger requires that you can take yourself out of an issue, even temporarily, and look at it objectively. However, if the issue has personal meaning for us, or we are too tired to properly intervene, then we don’t have the resources to de-escalate the anger.

WHAT TO DO: Withdraw from the situation and talk to someone you trust about your own feelings.

When there are warning signs for verbal and/ or physical violence. Your priority is always to ensure your well-being and safety. Warning signs for violence include a history of violent behavior, severe rage for seemingly minor reasons, possession of weapons and threats of violence.
WHAT TO DO: Get as far away from the person as you can! Go to a public place.

When there is influence of mood-altering substances. No de-escalating technique can help you deal with a person who has taken alcohol and mood-altering drugs (both legal e.g. some anti-depressants, and illegal e.g. hallucinogens).
WHAT TO DO: Disengage from the conversation and talk to them when they’re sober!

READ ALSO: Anger Management (11)

When no amount of rational intervention seems to work. There are moments when a person is hell-bent on raging, and the anger will escalate regardless of what intervention you use. It is possible that the strength of the anger is significantly more than the person’s resources to cope. This is signaled by a tendency for the anger to still take off even after slowing down and cooling down, despite the absence of provocation.
WHAT TO DO: Disengage from the conversation and re-schedule the talk for another time.

When there are signs of serious mental health conditions. While there are no categories of anger disorders in the Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders-IV (the reference of most mental health professionals), some serious mental health conditions are related to anger. In these cases, intensive therapy and/or psychiatric medications may be most appropriate. As a rule, people who suffer impairment of reality testing cannot be expected to be rational or reasonable.
Signs to watch out for: persecutory or paranoid delusions, hallucinations, past history of violence based on delusions.

It is important to know that Chronic and rigid patterns of the use of anger as coping mechanism may point to a personality disorder.

WHAT TO DO: Compassionate understanding is key! However, disengage yourself immediately as some psychotic symptoms are correlated with a tendency towards violence. Refer to the appropriate mental health professional.

The following are tips in putting anger management techniques into action:

Find your motivation. As with any plan towards behavioral change, it helps to sustain your motivation. Habits are hard to break and unless there is something strong that can inspire you to change, your efforts may not get followed through. So find your motivation! You can remember a negative effect of anger in your life, such as health problems or poor quality of relationships, and use it to encourage. You may also picture how things could be different if you can manage your anger better.

 READ ALSO: Anger Management (12)

Choose only one change at a time. Don’t expect change to happen overnight. After all, these may be lifetime habits that you are trying to change. Instead, stick to managing one issue at a time. Develop goals that are realistic, otherwise you might just end up frustrating yourself.

Reward yourself for your successes. If you’ve successfully managed to change, affirm yourself! Any success, no matter how small, shows that you are capable.

Choose an accountability partner. It helps to not keep your goals to yourself. Instead, select a trusted friend who knows what you are trying to accomplish. This friend can encourage you when you need additional motivation, can spur you to action when you’re lagging, and can check if you are working at the pace you promised you would.

Seek a mental health professional. If you’re really struggling with anger problems, or you just need additional support, remember: you can always seek a mental health professional. Counselors, therapists, and psychiatrist are all trained to address anger and its impact on your life.

Prof. Akindotun Merino
Instagram: @drakinmerino: Twitter: @drakindotun


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Mental Health

Anger Management (12)



Anger Management (5)

By Akindotun Merino
De-escalation Techniques
De-escalation techniques are skilled interventions designed to facilitate a person’s cooling down process, reduce the possibility of getting verbally or physically hurt, and gain control of the situation.

The following are examples of de-escalation techniques:

Practice active listening. Most of the time, all an angry person needs is an opportunity to tell someone how they feel, and have their anger acknowledged. Seeing that you are genuinely listening to their grievances can help lessen the intensity of their angry reaction. The following are some helpful components of active listening:

Show non-verbally that you are listening: Make sure that your posture shows openness. Establish eye contact. Speak in a soft, well-modulated, non-threatening tone of voice.

READ ALSO Anger Management (10)

Reflect: Re-state what you hear from the person. Example: “This is what I heard from you: You are mad because the package did not arrive on time.” You can also mirror back their body language in a tentative but objective, non-judgmental fashion. Example: “I can see that you’re really upset. You are clasping the desk very tightly.”

Clarify: Help the person make sense of their garbled, confusing, and or illogical statements. “Could you help me explain to me a bit more about what happened in the cafeteria? What do you mean by ‘he bullied you’?

Increase personal space: Anger can escalate if a person feels that he is being stifled. Make sure your body language is non-threatening. Create distance between you and the person.

Help the person recover a sense of control: Angry people may feel victimized by a situation, and may need to recover even a small sense of control. You can help do this by:

  1. Giving them choices.
  2. Example: “Would you like to move to a different area and talk?”
  3. Seeking their permission to speak.
  4. Example: May I tell what I think about what just happened?
  5. Focusing on immediate solutions.
  6. Example: “What do you think we can do today to help solve this issue?”

Orient them to immediacy: People temporarily loses track of their immediate surroundings at the height of getting overwhelmed. Orienting the person to the time, his location, and who he is with can help de-escalate a person. It helps a person feel less threatened if he knows where he is and how he got there. The goal also is to shift him from attending to his overwhelming feelings to recovering rationality.

 READ ALSO: Anger Management (11)

Invite criticism: Ask the angry person to voice his or her criticism of yourself or the situation more fully. You might say something like, “Go ahead. Tell me everything that has you upset. Don’t hold anything back. I want to hear all you have to say.”

Agree if possible. If not, agree to disagree: There are cases when anger is triggered by a legitimate grievance. In these cases, it can help a person lose steam by hearing someone validate the presence of injustice. At the very least, agreeing that a person has a right to the opinion they have can help de-escalate anger.

Reiterate your support: Emphasize your willingness to help. Example: “Okay. I don’t know how this thing could have happened, but you have my assurance that I’ll stay with you until we figure it out.”

Set limits: Tell the person that you are willing to listen, but you’d appreciate that they tone down the expression of their anger.

Dr. Akindotun Merino is a Professor of Psychology, CEO of Jars Group and Mental Health Commissioner in California. Feel free to share your successes and challenges:

Prof. Akindotun Merino
Instagram: @drakinmerino: Twitter: @drakindotun


Read more authentic news on our social media platforms


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