There’s No Such Thing as Monsters

Last night my 2 1/2 year old daughter, asked me a question, I wasn’t prepared for.  “Mommy, are the monsters coming?” said Ryleigh.  I quickly picked my jaw up off the floor and told her, “No honey.  There are no such thing as monsters.”

I lied.

In the work place as leaders, we fight monsters everyday, monsters of fear, monsters of change, and trouble making monsters.  You know the type.  The drama making monsters in your office always causing trouble.  Never able to leave well-enough alone.  In the workplace, our lives are filled with monsters.  So why did I tell Ryleigh any different?

Monsters come in all shapes and sizes when it comes to your workplace or business, but often the scariest monster is one that as a leader you wouldn’t expect.  It’s you.  Even though you may have a solid relationship with your employees, they’re still fearful because of what they can’t control, understand, or reason.  Their fears feed their own.  Monsters in the workplace.  

A couple years ago, I was talking with employees near our office entrance.  A floral delivery woman arrived with a beautiful arrangement.  Since the facility I was housed in was closed, I accepted the delivery for one of my employees and carried the arrangement to my office where I gave her a call and asked her to swing on by to visit me.

She arrived sweating bullets, fearful and anxiety-ridden.  When I presented her with her flowers she was relieved.  Although she was one of our top performers, no one likes to visit the boss’s office especially the HR Director.  I was her monster.

Monsters are entities created within ourselves.  Possibly shared with others, but the truth is that I didn’t lie.  Monsters don’t really exist.  They are a figment of our imagination created to serve a purpose whether its to justify a decision, create an excuse, or work on ourselves.

These monsters while making an appearance in your workplace don’t always mean that your leadership style, management, or organization is the culprit.  It’s no secret that life spills into the workplace.  An employee’s fears outside of work could be feeding your workplace monster.  Fear of home foreclosure hurts employes’ attitudes towards their career, lives, and their job.

I realized the culprit of my daughter’s monster was myself.  Several weeks ago, I downloaded a new book on my iPad for Ryleigh, Monster at the End of This Book.  It was one of my favorites as a child.  While Ryleigh loves the book, I feel guilty and mad at myself for being the cause of her anxiety.  I am the cause of her monster.

Could you or are you the cause of the monster in your workplace or is it an outside force?  How do we fix it?

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.

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  1. AvatarMarcelo Di Franco says

    So true. It’s all in our heads. The beauty of this is that the same happens with the opposite. If you imprint your mind with the right ideas about your work, your dedication and your commitment, the Monsters become the opposite (Angels, if you want? Maybe?)

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